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icon with a covid particle and a chemical test tube representing the alumni working groups
Alumni COVID-19 working groups

How the MSc IHTM is contributing to the understanding of COVID-19

The MSc IHTM alumni started working groups focused in furthering the understanding of COVID-19.

 

These working groups cover a range of fields that examine the impact, challenges and experiences of COVID-19 in limited resource settings.

Each working group draws on the individual expertise and background of our alumni. 

See below the description of the current COVID-19 working groups.

More information will be published when it becomes available.

The MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine is open to candidates from a variety of academic backgrounds, both medical and non-medical.

The group will examine the impact of COVID infection and its control measures on health outcomes, focusing on mortality. Mortality rates in the pandemic have significantly increased across different countries. The group will estimate this excess mortality, examine whether the rates are due to other diseases/indirect causes and the factors contributing to mortality rates.

Currently, mortality data was collected from six countries and work has begun to assess the quality and completeness of mortality data in these studies.

The aim is to calculate excess mortality using a standard methodology, with analysis using R, along with a user-friendly R Shiny app. The group is collaborating with partners in the countries of interest to examine health information/data systems.

 

Group Representative: Sylvie Pool (cohort 2019 - 2020)

This group focuses on the challenges of COVID-19 preparedness and response, and the impact of the pandemic on three main vulnerable groups:

  • refugees
  • migrants
  • informal slum dwellers

Issues related to appropriateness and implementation of COVID prevention and control measures, developing guidelines for organisations and groups working with these populations and addressing ongoing challenges will be examined.

Members have begun working with other groups in Oxford such as the CoMo Consortium and WPRO/GLOPID-R to assess the outbreak preparedness/response in urban slums/settlements at the national and sub-national levels.

The group plans to undertake a modelling exercise on interventions that might be appropriate for non-conventional housing structures, using an example of informal settlements in South Africa.

 

In addition, the groups started working on a review of the World Bank evaluations among indigenous populations in Latin America, to provide recommendations for COVID-19 response in these areas. 

 

Group Representative: Priya Bala (cohort 2019 - 2020)

This group is concerned about human rights infringements seen in the implementation of COVID-19 prevention and control measures/guidelines.

Currently, there is limited information about how much the current measures infringe human rights across different settings. Countries have been seen to take from a wide spectrum from “lax” to “drastic” measures to achieve a public health good.

The group will consider the “balance” between implementing pandemic control measures and the violation of human rights.

The group will kick off work based on alumni, Yoshin Nakamura’s dissertation, which examined human rights concerns in the COVID-19 response in Japan. 

Group Representative: Yoshin Nakamura (cohort 2019 - 2020)

This group will focus on challenges with implementing guidelines for COVID-19 preventions and control, particularly in resource-limited settings.

These include inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), access to water for washing hands, etc.

They will consider the unintended consequences of these measures and guidelines including health, social and economic impacts and examine how countries can and have tailored these guidelines to fit their needs/setting.

The group’s work is focused on Nigeria and South Africa, comparing the chronology of the outbreak response and the challenges if implementation.

 

Group Representative: Sopuruchukwu Obiese (cohort 2019 - 2020)

 

This group will examine human resource challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic including health worker shortages, personal and professional safety/security of health personnel, the health and wellbeing of frontline health responders, deaths among health workers, etc.

The group plans to do a social media analytic study, retrospectively examining discussions among health personnel as well as critical commentaries on public response to public health measures.

 

Group Representative: Naima Nasir (cohort 2018 - 2019)

 

The group will look at challenges for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health as well as women’s health.

The pandemic has resulted in limited access to maternal and child health services due to restrictions in movement and other control measures in many countries.

Furthermore, lockdowns have led to a rise in intimate partner and domestic violence.

The group is currently working on a study to examine the effect of the COVID-19 restriction on the provision of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) services in selected countries. 

 

Group representative: Adeniyi Aderoba (cohort 2018 - 2019)

The group raises concerns about mobility and transport related challenges, contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in Africa.

The group is currently working closely with groups in Mozambique to examine this issue more closely.

 

Group Representatives: Grace Mzumura (cohort 2018-2019) and Viviana Mabombo (cohort 2019-2020)

The group will share experiences from countries like Timor-Leste, Seychelles and Fiji that have achieved relatively good control of the infection with zero or minimal new cases. 

 

Group Representative: Luzia Freitas (cohort 2018-2019)