COVID Series

Governing a pandemic: A case study of South Africa’s coordination and management structures used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

D Moonasar, E Leonard, R Naidoo, Y Pillay, N Govender, R Morewane, W Ramkrishna, T Furumele, O P Ramadan, A Pillay, N Mayet

Abstract


During a public health emergency, coordination and management are essential for ensuring timeous, decisive, and harmonised leadership. In this paper, the governance structures utilised in South Africa (SA) during the COVID-19 pandemic are recorded and the key strengths and weaknesses of response in the country are discussed. A qualitative methodology is used for the case study and comprises insights from stakeholders who were at the forefront of SA’s response as well as from documentation that was used to guide the response. Structured, transparent, science-based and agile coordination and management systems are necessary to gain the public’s trust during a public health emergency. This case study contributes to the literature on governing a pandemic and shares lessons learned from the COVID-19 response. The lessons learned by the stakeholders within the SA governance structures can be leveraged in future public health emergencies within SA and other low- and middle-income countries.


Authors' affiliations

D Moonasar, National Department of Health Malaria, Vector and Zoonotic Diseases, Pretoria, South Africa

E Leonard, Clinton Health Access Initiative South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

R Naidoo, National Department of Health, Department of Emergency Medical Services, Pretoria, South Africa

Y Pillay, Clinton Health Access Initiative South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa; Division of Health Systems and Public Health, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

N Govender, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa

R Morewane, National Department of Health, Department of Primary Health Care, Pretoria, South Africa

W Ramkrishna, National Department of Health Malaria, Vector and Zoonotic Diseases, Pretoria, South Africa

T Furumele, National Department of Health Malaria, Vector and Zoonotic Diseases, Pretoria, South Africa

O P Ramadan, World Health Organisation, Emergency preparedness and Response (EPR), Nairobi, Kenya

A Pillay, National Department of Health, Health Regulation, and Compliance, Pretoria, South Africa

N Mayet, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2022;112(5b):356.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-05-31
Date published: 2022-05-31

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