Hosted by IR-Connect (supported by WHO-TDR)

The health sector globally, and prominently in low and middle income countries, have been catapulted into a crisis since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges have been multi-pronged – the pressing need to upgrade infrastructure, devising and adapting to new modes of health services provisioning at different levels for different groups of the population, pushing in for major behavioural changes in the community through regulations and recommendations, and scaling up and sustaining surveillance methods such as tracing and tracking. A significant silver lining has been the emergence of an abundance of research guiding and feeding into decision-making by nations and global institutions. To ensure that such evidence translates into lessons learnt for health systems, to upgrade and augment their infrastructure and efficacy, is the key goal. Implementation Research, in the context of these nations, could play a critical role in the shaping up of stronger and resilient health systems. 

This panel discussion was organised in order to hear perspectives from seven countries of the Global South on the impact of COVID-19 on their health systems, key implementation challenges in controlling the pandemic and the possible opportunities for young IR practitioners to contribute to the effort.


Prof. Yodi Mahendradhata, Vice Dean for Research and Development, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia.

The Panelists for the webinar were

  1. Dr.  Juliana Kagura , Senior Lecturer, School of Public Health, University of Witwatersrand  (WITS University)
  2. Dr. Nada Melhem, Associate Professor, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, American University of Beirut (AUB)
  3. Prof. Charles Michelo, Department of Public Health, University of Zambia (UNZA)
  4. Dr. Yameen Mazumder, Senior Project Advisor and Program Specialist, James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka
  5. Dr. Gloria Sanchez, Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Antioquia (UdeA)
  6. Dr. Emmanuel Asampong, Senior Lecturer, School of Public Health, University of Ghana
  7. Dr. Riris Andono Ahmad, Course Director, Field Epidemiology, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM)

Introductory remarks were provided by Dr. Mahnaz Vahedi, Scientist at World Health Organization WHO TDR.