Emerging Epidemics: Improving Preparedness in Burkina Faso


Start date: 1 August, 2018 End date: 31 July, 2023 Project type: Research collaboration projects in Danida priority countries (Window 1) Project code: 17-06-KU Countries: Burkina Faso Thematic areas: Health, State building, governance and civil society, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS), Burkina Faso University of Ouagadougou (OU), Burkina Faso Project coordinator: Helle Samuelsen Total grant: 9,997,249 DKK

Project summary

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa showed how rapidly an infectious disease can spread within and across borders. The overall ambition of this project is to identify key elements for a ‘smart foresighting system’ for early detection of infectious diseases in order to reduce the risk of new international pandemics. By ‘smart’,we mean an ICT (primarily mobile phones) and Severe Sickness/Verbal Autopsy (SS/VA) system, that draws on existing local perceptions and practices, and involves the local community. With its location in a politically fragile region and close to three Ebola-affected countries, Burkina Faso is a particularly relevant country for this theme of study. The project is interdisciplinary, combining anthropology, epidemiology and computer science with strong focus on research capacity building and research based stakeholder engagement. The study is organized in four Work-Packages. In WP1, we will study local perceptions and practices of disease and care-giving, and in WP2, we will identify locally relevant disease indicators and methods for identification of early warning signals at community level. In WP3, we plan to analyze patterns and means of communication using ICT.Inputs from WP 1-3 will be used to develop a smart foresighting system, which will be pilot tested in WP4. Theoretically, the ambition is to provide cutting-edge contributions to the field of global health security.

The main outputs of the project will be a total of four PhD degrees (three from Burkina Faso and one from Denmark), a minimum of 15 publications, five policy briefs, two regional and one national stakeholder workshops, an international conference as well as tools and recommendations for an improved community based system for early detection of infectious diseases.


Midterm report:

- PhD fieldwork completed for all four PhD students (few follow-up investigations may take place during 2021/22):
*New knowledge about the status and functioning of the Health Information System related to infectious disesase surveillance provided
*New knowledge about local perceptions and responses to Covid-19 and other infectious diseases provided
*New knowledge about availability and use of mobile phones (within and outside of the health system) provided
*New knowledge about local use (and non-use) of health care system provided.
- A total of 6 research articles have already been published, 2 articles/chapter submitted and more than 10 articles are in preparation - see Appendix 2C
- Communication and outreach activities
- Burkinabe students study stay in Denmark completed

Go back to all projects