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Coordinating the research response to COVID-19: Mali’s approach

  • Doumbia, Seydou1
  • Sow, Ydrissa2
  • Diakite, Mahamadou3
  • Lau, Chuen-Yen2
  • 1 University Clinical Research Center & Faculty of Medicine and Odontostomatology University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako, Bamako, Mali , Bamako (Mali)
  • 2 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease National Institutes of Health, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD, 20852, USA , Rockville (United States)
  • 3 University Clinical Research Center & Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako, Bamako, Mali , Bamako (Mali)
Published Article
Health Research Policy and Systems
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Sep 17, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12961-020-00623-8
Springer Nature


Mali, like the rest of the world, has seen a rapid spread of COVID-19 since the first report of imported cases. Despite being a low-income country, Mali has leveraged scientific research resources via coordinated approaches to enable public health emergency planning and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mali’s approach includes the harmonization of research activities; leveraging of research laboratory capacity of the University Clinical Research Center, Mali International Center for Excellence and three other in-country laboratories for community COVID-19 testing; strengthening relationships amongst local and international stakeholders; and collaboration with the Ministry of Health to integrate scientific evidence into public policy and emergency management of COVID-19 through a platform of consultation and open communication. The country has implemented national coordination of its COVID-19 response by establishing a COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Committee and a COVID-19 Technical Coordination Committee, both within the Ministry of Health and working collaboratively with other stakeholders. Members of Mali’s COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Committee also serve as leaders of its principal academic and government clinical and public health research entities. This centralised approach has enabled the prioritisation of COVID-19 control activities, informed allocation of resources, evidence-based public health practices and timely decision-making in the pandemic setting. Though challenges remain, lessons learned from Mali’s harnessing of clinical research capacity to guide and support its COVID-19 response can be applied to future global health research challenges and illustrate the power of building public health-responsive research capacity in resource-limited settings through international collaboration.

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