The role of integrated programs in the prevention of COVID-19 in a humanitarian setting

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2022 Mar 2;116(3):193-196. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/trab119.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a severe depletion to health systems worldwide. In the South Kordofan state, a war-torn humanitarian region in Sudan, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the WHO Emergencies Programme have led the development of integrated programs for health, peace and rehabilitation by training rapid response teams to strengthen both surveillance system and response capacities, engaging the communities at risk with health education and promotion activities, as well as following proper infection, prevention and control measures during case investigation. Also, Early Help Assessment coordinators met with health services managers and recruited 14 teams who were trained to ensure a rapid response to COVID-19. Also, the implementation of water, sanitation and hygiene services was upscaled. Although the local community of South Kordofan is fragile and at high risk of infectious diseases, the limited numbers of detected cases of COVID-19 and COVID-19 deaths could be attributed to the early preparation and integration of programs that helped to prevent the local spread of COVID-19. This lesson needs to be thoroughly investigated to estimate whether it is cost-effective and to determine the feasibility of it being successfully implemented in other humanitarian settings.

Keywords: COVID-19; Humanitarian setting; Integrated programs; Prevention.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sanitation