Research priorities to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries

Ozren Polašek, Kerri Wazny, Davies Adeloye, Peige Song, Kit Y. Chan, Danladi A. Bojude, Sajjad Ali, Sheri Bastien, Francisco Becerra-Posada, Florencia Borrescio-Higa, Sohaila Cheema, Darien A. Cipta, Smiljana Cvjetković, Lina D. Castro, Bassey Ebenso, Omolade Femi-Ajao, Balasankar Ganesan, Anton Glasnović, Longtao He, Jean M. HeraudChinonso Igwesi-Chidobe, Per O. Iversen, Bismeen Jadoon, Abdulkarim J. Karim, Johra Khan, Raaj K. Biswas, Giuseppe Lanza, Shaun W.H. Lee, You Li, Li Lin Liang, Mat Lowe, Mohammad M. Islam, Ana Marušić, Suleiman Mshelia, Anthony M. Manyara, Mila N.N. Htay, Michelle Parisi, Prince Peprah, Emma Sacks, Kabiru O. Akinyemi, Fariba Shahraki-Sanavi, Konstantin Sharov, Elena S. Rotarou, Srdjan Stankov, Wenang Supriyatiningsih, Benjamin T.Y. Chan, Mark Tremblay, Dialechti Tsimpida, Sandro Vento, Josipa V. Glasnović, Liang Wang, Xin Wang, Zhi X. Ng, Jianrong Zhang, Yanfeng Zhang, Harry Campbell, Mickey Chopra, Simon Cousens, Goran Krstić, Calum Macdonald, Parisa Mansoori, Smruti Patel, Aziz Sheikh, Mark Tomlinson, Alexander C. Tsai, Sachiyo Yoshida, Igor Rudan

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2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to the functioning of societies and their health systems. Prior to the pandemic, health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) were particularly stretched and vulnerable. The International Society of Global Health (ISoGH) sought to systematically identify priorities for health research that would have the potential to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in LMICs. Methods The Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) method was used to identify COVID-19-related research priorities. All ISoGH members were invited to participate. Seventy-nine experts in clinical, translational, and population research contributed 192 research questions for consideration. Fifty-two experts then scored those questions based on five pre-defined criteria that were selected for this exercise: 1) feasibility and answerability; 2) potential for burden reduction; 3) potential for a paradigm shift; 4) potential for translation and implementation; and 5) impact on equity. Results Among the top 10 research priorities, research questions related to vaccination were prominent: health care system access barriers to equitable uptake of COVID-19 vaccination (ranked 1st), determinants of vaccine hesitancy (4th), development and evaluation of effective interventions to decrease vaccine hesitancy (5th), and vaccination impacts on vulnerable population/s (6th). Health care delivery questions also ranked highly, including: effective strategies to manage COVID-19 globally and in LMICs (2nd) and integrating health care for COVID-19 with other essential health services in LMICs (3rd). Additionally, the assessment of COVID-19 patients' needs in rural areas of LMICs was ranked 7th, and studying the leading socioeconomic determinants and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in LMICs using multi-faceted approaches was ranked 8th. The remaining questions in the top 10 were: clarifying paediatric case-fatality rates (CFR) in LMICs and identifying effective strategies for community engagement against COVID-19 in different LMIC contexts. Interpretation Health policy and systems research to inform COVID-19 vaccine uptake and equitable access to care are urgently needed, especially for rural, vulnerable, and/or marginalised populations. This research should occur in parallel with studies that will identify approaches to minimise vaccine hesitancy and effectively integrate care for COVID-19 with other essential health services in LMICs. ISoGH calls on the funders of health research in LMICs to consider the urgency and priority of this research during the COVID-19 pandemic and support studies that could make a positive difference for the populations of LMICs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of global health
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

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