There is growing recognition of the need for responses to the COVID-19 pandemic to be attuned to their national and local contexts if they are to be effective and socially just. In diverse African settings, it is increasingly clear that the models of preparedness and response applied in Asian and European countries might be inappropriate or require local adaptation – and that strategies and approaches are needed which suit particular health, social, economic, demographic, political and historical conditions and experiences, and state-society capacity and relations.

There is less clarity on what this range of alternatives looks like, and how they might be implemented. This roundtable convened social science and public health researchers and practitioners working on COVID-19 preparedness and response in African settings. The discussions from this roundtable were linked to an Africa CDC-led webinar the following week, which focused on the challenges related to the easing of stay-at-home orders. In this report, we present areas of debate and contention and report on key themes identified in the roundtable, including viewpoints from Sudan, Kenya, and South Africa