COVID-19: Updates from the HEART consortium

The HEART partners are committed to supporting in specific areas or to develop comprehensive whole system solutions. See below for what each organisation is currently doing.

Oxford Policy Management

OPM is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the University of Oxford and the Covid-19 International Modelling Consortium to assist policy makers make evidence based decisions to contain the spread of COVID-19 based on mathematical and epidemiological modelling. Our group brings together top academic modellers, global public health specialists, local epidemiologists, and expert project management systems to provide whole package solutions. To discuss further, please contact [email protected].

OPM is also providing support to the Government of Nepal in producing policy-based costing to respond to COVID-19. The government envisaged providing COVID-19 test and treatment free. This exercise has provided cost estimates for active case detection in the community, and treatment of mild cases in quarantine centres, moderate in fever clinics and severe cases in COVID hospitals (including case detection of non-referral cases). Costs have been estimated at per patient per day and are based on RT-PCR as confirmatory diagnosis of COVID-19, existing practise and current market price. Treatment of moderate and severe conditions includes the cost for High Dependency Care and ICU including lodging and food for service providers. Only the direct cost of care is taken into consideration and the common cost parameter includes HR (100% salary top up), COVID-19 test, supportive test, equipment and supplies, lodging and food, waste management, information management, communication and transportation.

OPM are providing support to the Government of Lebanon in their National Education Response Plan. They are providing trainers to the Ministry of Education to support the set up of Microsoft Teams for schools as a platform for the ‘virtual classroom’ component of the e-learning strategy. They have set up a contract with CERD to support them to deliver the three components which they are tasked with: 1) developing the content and training for this virtual classroom, 2) a large library of education links combined into an e-portal, and 3) development of the audiovisual content for TV broadcasts.

OPM are also in discussions with Ghana’s Ministry of Education. Suggested areas of support include the use of local radio, using community announcement centres within a possible solution, translating the materials already developed through the CBE programme into audio content, and supporting the national response to be suitably flexible and adapt to the emerging context on a daily/weekly basis.

An ongoing OPM technical assistance project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan is working closely with the Department of Health on a few different areas. They are supporting the DoH in designing and establishment of response mechanisms. The Monitoring and Evaulation team are working on data management, analysis troubleshooting and improving the surveillance system and data, so it is connected with the surveillance data the Project Management Review Unit (PMRU) in Chief Secretary Office is using to monitor of the whole operation.

The project is also working with others to organise and establish a complete M&E mechanism for the Covid 19 response. They are supporting the financing workstream and work on designing financial flow mechanism and monitoring for Covid response operations, including hands-on support in management at the command and control centre level that is overseeing the Covid 19 response operation.The project is also assisting to the Director-General’s health office in streamlining the procurement and supply chain system to align with the current emergency, including procurement management tools, data management and procurement plans, and hands-on capacity building.

OPM are also working closely with the Mozambican Ministry of Health as part of the MUVA project. All 250 MUVA staff have been trained by the MoH in Covid 19 prevention response to deliver public health prevention messages, which they will deliver digitally in Portuguese and local languages. They are also preparing civil society messages focused on gender-based violence at a time of confinement and will continue with mentoring activities at the community level to ensure continuous support to girls in social vulnerable situations. MUVA classroom assistants will support teachers and be links between the school and families (via telephone) to ensure pupils continue studying at home, as well as supporting parents coming to schools to pick up homework. The MUVA gender and entrepreneurshop acceleration programme for female entrepreneurs has shifted its focus from business growth to resilience, to help entrepreneurs adapt to the content. The training course has changed to a digital version.

The Open University

The OU has developed collections of free online learning resources to support the public during these unprecedented times. This includes a collection of latest articles and information on COVID-19, resources to help educators to take their teaching online, content to support home schooling, resources on mental health and wellbeing, and courses for those returning to nursing and healthcare during the current crisis.  

It is also collaborating with its partners in the UK and Europe. OU was recently awarded €393,000 from the EU as part of a programme to track and combat the spread of false information about COVID-19. FutureLearn, a partnership between the Open University and SEEK, supported London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine to develop a public information MOOC on COVID-19.

OU is pivoting its International Development programmes to respond to the current situation and is in the process of cataloguing and curating its context-specific open learning resources for frontline educators and health workers in the Global South, many of which can already be found here. OU’s programmes use open and distance methodologies to deliver learning which are rapidly becoming the norm. OU is also in discussions with several Ministries of Education to provide advice and support to distance higher education in those countries.

For further information you can contact Tom Bartram at [email protected]


As a technology partner, Bluesquare is tracking evolving technologies and is ready to support in an effective deployment. This support with technological implementation includes:

  • case detection through call centers, healthcare providers and temperature tests
  • follow-up from the screening process using DHIS2’s COVID-19 tracker programme
  • monitoring of positive and suspicious cases using tracker programmes
  • response capacity monitoring – a COVID-19 ‘carte sanitaire’ – using mobile apps, programme trackers and visualisations
  • building COVID-19 dashboards

For more information, please contact Mireille Ntchagang.

Education Development Trust

With an estimated 90% of learners around the world affected by the crisis, commentary from the Education Development Trust focuses on nine key areas which they believe are important for policymakers to consider as they grapple with how to sustain learning at scale despite the challenges of the global pandemic. These areas help to address the secondary impacts of the necessary containment and mitigation measures taken by governments.

They include:

  • promoting equality in remote schooling,
  • not neglecting low-tech or no-tech solutions,
  • planning creative ways to maintain learner engagement,
  • making teachers a focus of the response, focusing on the most vulnerable,
  • using all available human resources across the system,
  • embracing cross sectoral solutions,
  • helping parents manage the home learning environment,
  • and finally – but significantly – planning for schools reopening and envisioning a more resilient and effective system.

Education system leaders are having to make high-stakes decisions in the face of great uncertainty. EDT are already providing rapid evidence briefings on a range of urgent priorities, and offer fast-turnaround research to support evidence-based policymaking across a variety of contexts. There is a good deal of evidence on what works in remote schooling, and new lessons are already being generated from responses to Covid-19. Drawing on the latest international learnings and synthesis of existing evidence, EDT have recently completed five rapid-turnaround reports for the EdTech Hub on effective remote pedagogythe efficacy of current country-level responsessupporting marginalised girlsreaching the most disadvantaged students, and supporting education in emergencies. EDT are also currently working on further reports.

In EDT’s largest programmes of work, they are pivoting strands of research to meet the need for immediate evidence. In Rwanda and Ethiopia, EDT are studying the levels of technological capability available to learners and teachers. In Ethiopia, EDT are tracking and studying the impact of Covid-19 on the education system, with a particular focus on the most marginalised and emerging regions. In Rwanda, EDT are developing a new study to generate evidence that can support the delivery of radio broadcast education. They collate and provide guidance on the topics of importance to governments to use the best available evidence to help inform policy and strategic responses to the current crisis, and to plan for long term recovery.

In many contexts, especially in low- and middle-income countries, high-tech remote learning solutions will be inaccessible to many pupils, so alternative means of lesson delivery are needed. In Rwanda, for example, EDT’s Building Learning Foundations (BLF) programme has rapidly adapted to help support children learning remotely while schools are closed by providing radio lessons. Radio is an especially helpful means of getting information to remote and rural areas, where few households have reliable internet access or devices such as laptops. In response to a request from the Rwanda Education Board, the BLF team’s expert content developers have produced thirty scripts for English and maths lessons for pupils in Primary 1 to Primary 3 grades. In collaboration with UNICEF and the Rwanda Education Board, the lessons, which are aligned with the national curriculum, are aired on five radio stations every week, reaching over 2.6 million learners.

In the context of school closures, our teams are implementing innovative solutions to the challenges of remote learning. In Mombasa, Kenya, one of our senior coaches has mobilised teachers to form a joint WhatsApp-based e-learning platform to facilitate learning continuity for pupils during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the groups, which are separated according to the level of instruction, teachers can share learning resources and exercises with parents, which can be downloaded or printed for the child to complete. Parents then supervise their children through the exercises and mark the scripts using marking schemes sent by the teachers, and can directly contact teachers with queries or problems.

Principal consultant Joe Hallgarten carried out a report which focussed on efforts to mitigate the educational impact of previous disease outbreaks, concentrating on school-age learners. Most of the literature related to Ebola, and its impact in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The review divided mitigating actions in to three categories – amelioration, reparation and preparation – and offered four suggestions, including evidence for the use of radio, and the roles of remote teacher learning, psychosocial support and the good use of data, evidence and evaluation. The full report was published through the K4D programme.


Hera is a leading organisation on medical supply chain, pharmaceuticals, vaccines and equipment for the COVID-19 response.

Hera has a dedicated Pharma Team based in a mix of countries: high-income (New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Canada), middle-income (Suriname, Mongolia) and low-income (Sierra Leone, DRC, Rwanda, Zimbabwe). This team are supporting the COVID-19 response in these countries and are knowledgeable about regional systems. They can also support countries with guidelines and technical tools necessary for organizing COVID-19 preparedness or responses.

Hera has a dedicated Health Advisory Services Team in Brussels providing technical and policy support to the European Commission and EU delegations in lower and middle income countries. This included support to the Ebola outbreak in the past and currently includes COVID-19 strategic support.

Hera partners are actively involved in:

  • promoting access and quality of essential medicines and supplies (QUAMED) and supporting non-profit wholesalers in the African region (eg ASRAMES in Goma, DRC)
  • supporting regulatory agencies in Africa and Asia in medicines and devices control
  • auditing the service quality of humanitarian procurement centres (HPC) and OFDA acknowledged procurement agencies
  • supporting the EAC Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management at the University of Rwanda, Kigali

For more details, please email: [email protected]

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

LSTM, The University of Liverpool and the NHS, represented by Liverpool Health Partners (LHP), have united to redirect the majority of Liverpool’s research efforts to COVID-19. The research programmes are designed to have immediate benefits for public health.This programme is supported by £1.1 million in pump priming from LSTM and the University of Liverpool and the efforts of over 200 researchers, underpinned by equipment and laboratory space across the Liverpool City Region. 

The Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging Zoonotic Infections and the Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases Research (CEIDR), both established LSTM and UoL initiatives, are working together to deliver an ambitious and innovative programme of work. Funding has been awarded to 21 projects across LSTM and the University of Liverpool (UoL) in response to COVID-19, working with the NHS and industry. Other key partners are Liverpool City Council (LCC) and Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW).

In addition, LSTM partners with multiple other institutions and organisations to provide evidence based advisory services to government departments and other interested parties. For more information, please visit

The Institute of Development Studies

The K4D programme are producing daily COVID-19 Health Evidence Summaries and are continuing to write Rapid Evidence Reviews on COVID-19.

The Sanitation Learning Hub have pulled together a Compendium on handwashing, including resources on low-cost handwashing facilities as well as tips on socially distanced hygiene promotion. This will be shared on this page as soon as it’s ready. This is a living document – if you have any resources you would like to recommend or contribute for future versions of the compendium, please email [email protected]

The Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform is supporting response partners by mobilising networks of experts and through the production of evidence briefs highlighting key socio-cultural considerations relevant to the control of the disease. You can view their resources on their website as well as a selection in the resources section to the right of this page. If you are interested in joining in the network or would like more information, please email [email protected]

IDS and partners are involved in ‘Life with Corona’ – a citizen science project looking into how COVID-19 is affecting lives across the world. Please take the survey and share in your networks.

The British Medical Journal

BMJ has made a range of resources open access at for healthcare professionals and researchers to guide decision making, help them protect themselves whilst working, and practice evidence-based medicine.

BMJ are actively supporting the governments of Georgia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine where they have live health system strengthening programmes supporting primary care and infectious disease specialists. 

BMJ continue to provide reliable, relevant and accurate information to health professionals at For more information, please contact Mitali Wroczynski, Director of Global Health.