Presenting nutrition characteristics, comorbidities and outcomes of COVID-19 in African humanitarian
The proposed research will characterize nutrition and other risk factors for poor COVID-19 outcomes and clinical progression of disease in resource-poor humanitarian contexts in Africa, specifically in South Sudan and Eastern DRC, with the aim of informing the ongoing COVID-19 response. These locations were identified because IMC operates or supports facilities with capacity to provide clinical care for COVID-19 patients, making the study feasible, and because they offer the opportunity to generate evidence about risk factors for poor COVID-19 outcomes (e.g., acute malnutrition, anemia, malaria) that are prevalent in humanitarian contexts but have not yet been assessed due to the pandemic beginning in China, Europe and North America. There is a significant lack of evidence related to both malnutrition and infectious diseases and COVID-19 and a need to quickly generate evidence to contribute to real-time response efforts less lower and middle income countries and in particular in humanitarian settings which lack capacity to address the pandemic. While extensive research on risk factors for COVID-19 are underway globally, at present the proposed work is one of only a few studies planned in a humanitarian context. As such, this research can play an important role in understanding the generalizability of findings from other high-income settings to contexts such as South Sudan and DRC– where both patient risk profiles and health system capacity differ radically.
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