Trainings / 2020.02.20

Sonar-Global Special SOC Epidemics Workshop – Gorée 25-28/11/19

Sonar-Global is developing a curriculum (Special SOC Epidemics), which will include a manual and supporting documents to increase capacity among social scientists for research and training on epidemics in Africa, Asia, and Europe. The development of this curriculum is based on a participatory approach, supervised by a scientific committee of 12 international social sciences experts with solid experience in research and outbreaks. The scientific committee gathered in Gorée (Dakar, Senegal) for a workshop from the 25 to 28 November 2019. Participants included Roch Houngnihin, Anne Marie Moulin, Danny de Vies, Khoudia Sow, Firmin Kra, Anthony Billaud, Julienne Anoko, Frédéric Le Marcis, Latifa Imane, Blandine Bila, Albert Gautier Ndione and Alice Desclaux.

Sonar-Global Special SOC Epidemics

What was the objective of the workshop?

A major objective of the workshop was to complete, correct and validate the preliminary version of the curriculum and to specify the working methods for the subsequent phases. In addition, participants accomplished the following tasks:

  • completed, corrected and validated intermediate versions of modules
  • prioritized additional documents
  • developed diverse themes and targeted different pathogens
  • defined an approach to address epidemic situations on three continents
  • ensured the curriculum’s relevance for learners at various scientific levels
  • defined a working method promoting overall curriculum coherence and relevance to the course objectives and themes

Workshop participants came from eight countries (Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Benin, Ivory Coast, Netherlands, France, Morocco); they represented six different social science disciplines (socio-economics, sociology, anthropology, history, public health, pedagogy). All had substantial pedagogical experience in diverse contexts, including in universities, public health institutions. The working language of the workshop was French.

Sonar-Global Special SOC Epidemics

How is the Special SOC Epidemics divided?

At the end of the workshop, the committee validated the Special SOC Epidemics curriculum, which is divided into 15 modules and 4 fields:

  1. Sociocultural determinants of emergence and transmission (Modules: “Overall Frame of Outbreak Response”; “Humans, Animals, and Microbes: Emergence and One Health”; “Humans, Medicines, and Microbes: Anti-Microbial Resistance”; “Health Facilities: Hotspots and Care Centers”; “Risk, Inequalities, and Prevention”)
  2. Social construction of care (Modules: “Perceptions: Knowledge, Disease interpretation, Epidemic narratives, and Communication”; “Experiences: Patients and Health services”; “Death and Rituals: Meanings, Risk and Management”)
  3. Biosecurity, public health measures and social links (Modules: “Biosecurity, Public Health measures, Control and Trust”; Trust and Collective Engagement on Vaccination”; “Preparation, Response, and Recovery”)
  4. Research on/in epidemic crises (Modules: “Contribution of social sciences and governance of outbreak response”; “Methodology and ethics of social science investigation on health in an epidemic crisis situation”).

What are the next steps?

CRCF is currently writing up all modules, which will include case studies along with supplemental texts and definitions. Case studies in French and English will be collected from published literature, but also from Sonar-Global members, to expand the geographies, populations, and pathogens represented. Two members of the scientific committee will review each module to ensure that it achieves identified learning objectives and that it is coherent.

The main final document will be available in both English and French.  All documents, including the manual, will be freely available on the Sonar-Global platform, and trainers will be able to adapt the curriculum to their audiences and specific educational objectives.

Stay tuned!

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About the Author



Alice Desclaux

Anthropologue de la santé MD, PhD, HDR. Directrice de recherche IRD TransVIHMI (IRD, Univ de Montpellier, INSERM) Centre Régional de Recherche et de Formation de Fann (CRCF), Dakar, Sénégal



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