IDRC-supported research is helping decision-makers understand and address the structural cracks in our global systems that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed and deepened. We are committed to strengthening the world’s resilience to global health threats and other crises with policies that cut through systemic inequalities and are relevant to local contexts and people’s everyday lives.
Strong health systems
While COVID-19 has strained health systems around the world, countries in the Global South have fewer policies and resources to prepare for, detect and manage global health threats. IDRC is committed to addressing gaps in epidemic preparedness through ongoing support for health research and initiatives such as Artificial Intelligence for Global Health. The use of AI is transforming health system planning and how health services are delivered across low- and middle-income countries today. This initiative will catalyze and scale research, mobilize knowledge and strengthen capacity in the Global South to promote the responsible use of AI in health systems.
Epidemics commonly emerge from situations where human, animal and environmental interactions create the conditions for a virus to jump from animals to humans. Over the past two decades, epidemic threats are emerging with greater frequency and scale of impact, threatening to disrupt our collective health and roll back decades of global development progress.
IDRC is investing CAD20 million to fund One Health research to improve our understanding of emerging epidemic threats and to demonstrate that research-informed solutions can protect the health and livelihoods of vulnerable populations, strengthen local food systems and promote environmental sustainability. Multidisciplinary research is already underway in West Africa and in the Congo and Amazon basins.
Recovery for all
In 2020 and 2021, IDRC invested nearly CAD55 million in rapid-response COVID-19 programming in more than 65 countries. These research initiatives are generating findings and recommendations to improve social support and economic, food, education and health systems during pandemic recovery and in future responses to crises.
These examples are some of the results and insights emerging from this research:
- Recommendations from the COVID-19 Responses for Equity initiative include, for example, measures to address acute food shortages through the support of community-managed kitchens in Peru, relief measures for migrant workers in India and coordinated policies to help mitigate economic shocks in Uganda.
- A study by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) uncovered how the COVID-19 pandemic affected informal workers and the measures needed to ensure that no one is left behind.
- Research on COVID-19 and education in Africa documented serious, unexpected social outcomes from school closures, such as an increase in pregnancy among schoolgirls, and offered recommendations to improve the response to future disruptions in education.
This policy-relevant research positions women, girls and other marginalized populations at the centre of solutions that are innovative, sustainable and inclusive.
Launched on March 8, 2022, the Women RISE initiative targets transformative, action-oriented research on the intersection of women’s health and their paid or unpaid work. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and IDRC are investing in this CAD24-million initiative to inform solutions that improve gender equality and health equity during the COVID-19 recovery and in future health emergencies.
IDRC continues to work collaboratively with partners to ensure that pandemic prevention, preparedness and response are strengthened on a truly global scale.
Results and insights
COVID-19 Impact: Testimonials from the Field
IDRC recipients, spread out over the Global South, are rising above adversity to face many of the unique research challenges posed by the pandemic. IDRC is grateful for their commitment to the important work that IDRC supports around the world, especially during these uncertain times.
Two years into the pandemic - Insights from IDRC research partners
COVID-19 Impact: Testimonials from the Field - an interview with Dr. Shadi Saleh
An interview with Winnie Bikaako
An interview with Omotayo Fakinlede