New Voices COVID-19 Coverage

Updated 11/09

As the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc around the globe, New Voices fellows are providing important insights on how the pandemic is hitting Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as important policy suggestions on how governments and health authorities should respond.

To date, 57 New Voices Fellows have given over 175 interviews and written 116 Op-Eds related to COVID-19. Some of them are highlighted below.

Watch the April 30th Aspen Health for All Q&A webinar with Senior Fellows Kennedy Odede & Ahmed ‘Kura’ Omar about “COVID on Kenya’s front lines: Community-led solutions.”

Watch the June 18th Aspen Health for All Q&A webinar on what COVID-19 pandemic will mean for Africa’s food security – with Senior Fellow Dr. Esther Ngumbi and 2020 Fellow Cedric Habiyaremye.

Watch the June 25th Aspen Health for All Q&A webinar, “Rapidly Scaling Telemedicine in a Time of Crisis” with 2020 Fellow Mohamed Aburawi.

Dr. Ola Brown speaks on TV in Nigeria in mid-April about the management of COVID19 in Nigeria & across Africa

Coverage by country includes:


Rubayat Khan, a social enterprise upgrading pharmacies, wrote about why we must equip the informal health sector to fight Covid-19 for Dhaka Tribune.


Environmental microbiologist Dr. Akebe Luther King Abia wrote two Op-Eds for The Conversation: one detailing the environment’s role in the COVID-19 outbreak and the second cautioning the need for more preparedness across the African continent. The idea for this OpEd originated during the New Voices February training. Following the publication of his OpEd, Dr. Abia gave an interview for eNCA.


Robert Hakiza, the co- founder and the Executive Director of the Young African Refugees for Integral Development in Uganda, wrote for The New Humanitarian about the work of refugee groups in addressing COVID-19.

Former refugee Abraham Leno, now Country Representative for the American Refugee Committee (ARC), wrote for Boston Herald about surviving a disaster – lessons from Eastern Congo.


Metsehate Ayenekulu, Adolescents 360 Program Director, PSI Ethiopia, wrote for Addis Fortune about COVID-19 worsening the digital divide.


Mavis Owureku-Asare, a Ghanian food scientist, wrote about using gamma irradiation technology to decontaminate medical equipment and monetary currency in My Joy Online early in the early. Several months later, IPS News published a piece that she wrote regarding resilient food systems in the wake of COVID-19.

John Lazame Tindanbil, a public health practitioner, wrote about the harmful impact of COVID-19 on women’s health in Ghana for All Africa.


ElsaMarie D’Silva, a gender activist and co-founder of Safecity, wrote an article on sexual violence for Herstory. She spoke during a She the People online summit about how pandemics uniquely affect women. She wrote for Rotary Blog about preventing violence against women.

Sathya Raghu V. Mokkapati, Co-founder and President of Kheyti and CosmosGreen, startups working to help small and marginal farmers rise out of poverty, wrote a letter to his daughter in a post-COVID-19 world for YourStory.

Dr. Junaid Nabi, a medical doctor now based at Harvard University who focuses on bioethics, wrote op-eds for Project Syndicate, World Economic Forum, The Hill and Boston Globe on various economic and health issues and did an interview for BusinessLive. He was featured on Forbes for using machine learning to crunch coronavirus data and then in Kashmir Life for the same topic.

Dr. Ranjitha Puskur, a Senior Scientist leading the gender research program at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), co-wrote an article for CGIAR Gender Platform on women’s plight during India’s COVID migration.

Ivory Coast:

Carl Manlan, an economist from Côte d’Ivoire currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation, wrote about a citizen’s engagement for stopping the spread of COVID-19 for Cairo Review of Global Affairs and dealing with COVID in Africa for Cairo Review, too. He wrote about fighting COVID with stakeholder capitalism for World Economic Forum and how COVID-19 is Africa’s CDC moment for Corona Times. He wrote about global governance for Project Syndicate and a citizen’s engagement for stopping the spread of COVID-19 for Mo Ibrahim. He wrote for Portland Communications about COVID-19 being an economic crisis in Africa. He wrote for Corona Times about the African Union response to COVID.


Kennedy Odede, one of Africa’s best- known community organizers and founder of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), wrote for Daily Nation and Guardian about averting disaster in the slums. He did an interview on KTN where he was named the hero of this week in mid-March. His organization’s efforts to address coronavirus was featured by Reuters and Fast Company. He did interviews on the impact of COVID in Kenya for AP, New York Times, DW, Council on Foreign Relations, Business Day and All Africa.

Dr. Bernard Olayo, a public health specialist and the founder of the Center for Public Health and Development, gave an interview for the AP about the spread of coronavirus in Africa and Latin America. He did an interview for Project Syndicate about ventilators and on oxygen for the New Humanitarian.

Etta Madete, an architectural designer at BuildX Studio and lecturer at the University of Nairobi, wrote an OpEd for Think Global Health.

Damaris Matoke-Muhia, a research scientist at KEMRI, wrote an OpEd for Daily Nation about how the Kenyan government can help mitigate COVID-19 risks and a second one about the importance of Africa developing its own COVID-19 vaccine.

Entomologist Dr. Esther Ngumbi who is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, wrote three pieces about the university setting and COVID-19 for USA Today, WIRED and Inter Press Service. She also wrote about the need for diverse voices as experts covering COVID19 on TV for IPS and a looming food crisis for All Africa. She wrote about a pandemic of hunger for Project Syndicate. She did an interview for University World News. She wrote about young people’s talents in a post-pandemic world for All Africa. She wrote for Thomas Reuters Foundation about scaling up urban farming post COVID.

Dr. Jemimah Njuki, an expert on gender, agriculture and food security, wrote for All Africa about how to keep people fed during lockdowns and for Inter Press Services about gender and research and COVID-19.

Dr. Mwangi Thumbi, a veterinarian and Kenyan-based assistant professor at Washington State University who focuses on animal to human disease transmission like Rabies , gave interviews for BBCBBC FactFinder, Climate Home News and Kenyan CitizenTV.

Dr. Stellah Bosire, a medical doctor, did an interview for Forbes on how COIVD-19 caused the Maasai to change its ancient habits, for Daily Nation about doctors helping doctors on the frontlines, and for K24’s Daily Brief on 17 April.

Dr. Jenniffer Maroa, a researcher and program manager at African Academy of Sciences, wrote an op-ed for The Conversation on why more clinical trials are needed in Africa.

Wendo Aszed, founder and Executive Director of Dandelion Africa, which focuses on women’s health economic empowerment, wrote about coronavirus and contraception in rural Kenya for Population Matters. She did an interview for The Guardian about domestic violence during lockdown.


Brenda Moore, executive director of the Kids Educational Engagement Project, wrote for The Bush Chicken about school closures in her country during the Ebola crisis and how to manage schools now. It led to invitations to speak in high-level meetings and contributed to the country closing schools when the first case of COVID19 was diagnosed in mid-March. Read a Twitter Q&A with her about her op-ed and suggestions, from March 19, 2020. She wrote about COVID-19 and the banking sector for Front Page Africa.


Mohamed Aburawi is working with the Libyan health ministry and CDC to roll out a COVID19 Triage Platform using his App, Speetar. Mohamed was featured in a Forbes article about his work.


Bester Mulauzi, Director of Program Development and Quality at Save the Children Tanzania, wrote for African Arguments about safer political campaigning practices in the time of COVID.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Chiwoza Bandawe was interviewed by The Guardian on the drastic rise of suicides across Malawi.


Assia Sibide, who leads UNITLIFE, a financing instrument hosted by the United Nations dedicated to the fight against chronic malnutrition, wrote for Project Syndicate about how to strengthen Africa’s best pandemic defense.


Nay Lin Tun, a doctor serving the Rohingya in the Myanmar state of Rakhine, wrote an article for Frontier Myanmar about the need for government intervention to limit fighting and support COVID-19 prevention.


Dr. Ngozi Erondu, who is a biosecurity expert, global health program at Chatham house, has given interviews for APBBC, (2) (3), MSN, The Real Story podcast, BBC, New York TimesAl Jazeera (2), Medical Brief (2), International Business TimesUK’s Channel 4, Healthwise Punch NG, Indian Express, African Business, Afrique Magazine, among others. She co-authored a widely cited article for The Lancet on COVID-19 testing, response, ethics and politics. She wrote for Chatham House how together, African countries have enough to fight COVID. She wrote for the New Humanitarian on how COVID-19 policies not backed by data do more harm than good.

Dr. Ifeanyi Nsofor, a medical doctor, the CEO of EpiAFRIC, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Nigeria Health Watch, did interviews for VanguardAl Jazeera (2), Forbes, BBC’s the Inquiry, Standard Digital, Good Men Project, all Africa, Bio Med Center, and local Nigerian TV stations, including Human Rights Radio TV show on current affairs and TVCNews, and he wrote about it for outlets like The HillSciDevNet, All Africa and Inter Press Service, where he published four pieces. He also wrote for Project Syndicate and All Africa. He also wrote for Al Jazeera on the benefits of remote work. In mid-March, he was named one of the top 100 social media influencers on COVID-19 by Onalytica. He wrote for Culturico about why UHC is essential and for The Lagos Today on countering misinformation.

Dr. Adaora Okoli, a 2014 Ebola survivor and current internal medicine resident at Tulane University, wrote her first OpEd for Project Syndicate providing guidance on how to best prepare Africa for the COVID pandemic. Her article was republished in local newspapers across Africa, including Malawi. In late March, her second OpEd about the need to better protect healthcare workers was published in The Boston Globe.

Physician Dr. Adaeze Oreh, a senior medical officer with Nigerian Health Ministry, wrote an op-ed for Leadership on living in an era of infectious disease outbreak (it was syndicated by Business Day, Vanguard and Premium Times). She wrote for Premium Times about the impact of COVID-19 in Nigeria with insufficient medical staff. She wrote about handwashing for Nigeria Health Watch. And she wrote a piece for Business Day and co-authored a piece for Inter Press Services. She wrote for The Nation about loneliness and mental health and COVID. She was interviewed by Vanguard about Nigeria’s prospect with COVID-19 and by NPR (2) about the spread of the virus in Africa. She was interviewed by the Thomas Reuters Foundation about her experience surviving Ebola. She did interviews for Radio Nigeria Health Matters, Daily Trust and TVC News Channel Live.

Ndidi Nwuneli, managing partner of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition and the Co-Founder of AACE Foods, wrote an op-ed for Business Day / The Cable about food insecurity and COVID-19 and for Business Day about fragile food systems. She was quoted on Oxfam Blog and in Business Day.

Dr. Ola Brown, a medical doctor and founder of Flying Doctors, did an interview for The Global Oil & Gas News Source and for the Morning Show on Arise News. She wrote for about her road-trip to set up COVID testing centers in Nigeria.

Mojisola Ojebode, a trained biochemist and the founder of Moepelorse Bio Resources, wrote a piece for Financial Nigeria about healthy food choices during the COVID-19 pandemic. She wrote another piece for FN on the need for provisions of food for the vulnerable.

Lolo Cynthia Ihesie, a sexual education specialist and founder of LoloTalks, wrote a piece for Vanguard about sexual violence during COVID-19.

Dr. Utibe “UT” Effiong, a medical doctor in the U.S., co-wrote an article for Scientific American and The Conversation about chloroquine, COVID-19 and Lupus. He wrote for Mail & Guardian about ethical vaccine testing. He wrote for Mail & Guardian on the ethics of COVID-19 status disclosure, M&G on the untold story about children and M&G on the realities of testing in Africa. He wrote for Scientific American about the special challenges of fighting COVID in Africa and two pieces for the U of MI. He was quoted by SciDevNet on COVID-19 and mothers with lupus.

Danjuma Adda, a public health expert and hepatitis advocate, wrote for Aspen Ideas: Health about protecting Africa’s crucial drug supplies during the pandemic.

’Dapo Oyewole, Special Adviser on Development Planning & International Affairs to the Speaker of Nigeria’s parliament, wrote an e-book, “Ten Lessons African Governments Should Learn from Tackling the Covid-19 Pandemic” with this accompanying infographic. He wrote for Apolitical about the six key takeaways for governments in Africa.


Dr. Renzo R. Guinto, a medical doctor and recent graduate of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), wrote for The Jakarta Post about the need to stand behind the World Health Organization. He wrote for the Rappler on Earth Day about the lessons for a post-coronavirus world and another for them on the need to focus on employee health. He wrote for BMJ Global Health Blog about re-imagining the political economy of planetary health during COVID-19, Inquirer about putting health first in a post-COVID-19 world, and Science Magazine about preserving research capacity in the Global South. He wrote for CSI Analyzing War about rebalancing post-COVID global health.


Dr Cedric Habiyaremye, a crop scientist and research associate at Washington State University, wrote for Al Jazeera about preventing a food-driven crisis in Africa. He was also quoted by Forbes discussing wide-spread food insecurity following COVID-19 and interviewed on BBC News.

Dr Anatole Manzi, the Deputy Chief Medical Office at Partners in Health, wrote an article detailing the importance of community health workers for The Conversation and another for Next Billion urging African countries to bolster their community health networks. He penned a rebuttal to the claims that President Trump will de-fund WHO for the Boston Globe. He wrote an a piece for Project Syndicate about the importance of continued essential health services during the pandemic. He wrote an article in The New Times about the hidden impact of COVID-19 on maternal and child health services across Africa.


Mohamed Ali, the founder of Iftiin Foundation, wrote for The Telegraph about the need for a tailored response to fight COVID-19 within immigrant and ethnic minority groups in Europe.

South Africa:

Koketso Moeti, the CEO of, an independent, community advocacy organisation, spoke at Civil Tech Innovation’s virtual forum, in a webinar panel on 20 March, 9-10 a.m., about the “potential implications of health pandemics like COVID-19 on communities like CTIN’s.” She wrote for City Press about internet connectivity and a pandemic and for City Press about children’s safety. She wrote for Daily Maverick about how widespread internet access could save lives right now. She wrote for Mail & Guardian about men’s violence against women during lockdowns and beyond and a second piece for them about why she won’t call the police right now. She did an interview for IONO. She wrote for City Press, Daily Maverick and Al Jazeera on the need for clearer and more transparent direction from governments regarding COVID.

South African Safura Abdool Karim, a lawyer focused on public health issues, wrote an Op-Ed in The Hill urging the United States to consider price controls for COVID-19 vaccine development.

Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, a doctor, author and sexual and reproductive health and rights advocate in South Africa, did an interview for Glamour and Times Live about sex and COVID-19. She did interviews about reproductive rights during a lockdown for Times Live and Daily Vox. She did interviews about gender-based violence during lockdowns for News24 Podcast and Daily Maverick.

Mmaki Jantjies, a professor at the University of Western Cape, South Africa, wrote an OpEd for The Conversation highlighting educational resources for students with limited internet access and a second one addressing digital inequalities in e-learning.

Dr. Relebohile Moletsane, Professor & JL Dube Chair in Rural Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, co-wrote a piece for IOL on the need for a stimulus plan for rural education.

Writer Sisonke Msimang and gender advocate wrote for Africa is a Country about her views as an African in Australia. She was one of 30 South African writers who contributed to the new e-book Lockdown Extended – “a reflection on one of the most surreal times in South African history.”


Agnes Igoye, the deputy national coordinator, Counter Human Trafficking, wrote for Public Integrity on migration, immigration and in Uganda among the COVID-19 pandemic. She wrote for Project Syndicate about how to protect refugees during a pandemic.

Primah Kwagala, a health rights lawyer and CEO of the Women’s Probono Initiative, wrote about teen pregnancies on the rise during lockdown for The Independent. She was interviewed by Al Jazeera, Reuters and The Independent (2) on topics like women dying during labor and women facing sexual violence during lockdowns.

Jacqueline Musiitwa, Founder of Hoja Law Group, co-wrote for The Africa Report about how now is China’s opportune time to aid Africa.

Deborah Nakatudde, a Kampala-based grassroots activist, wrote for New Vision about family planning during COVID-19.

Dr. Serufusa Sekidde, a medical doctor who lived in China during the SARS epidemic and is now based in the UK as the Director of Policy & Partnerships for GSK, did interviews for the Guardian, BusinessLive and University World News and wrote an article for All Africa.

Alice Ruhweza, the Vice President of Programs and Partnerships at Conservation International- Africa Field Division, wrote for Earth Institute at Columbia University about Africa’s COVID recovery and Queens Commonwealth Trust about how Africa’s youth are rising to the challenge of COVID.


Dr. Denis Chopera, SANTHE Programme Executive Manager, wrote for Project Syndicate about if Africa can withstand COVID-19 and did an interview for Voice of the Cape, Associated Press, BusinessLive, The Scienist and The Citizen.

Maxwell Gomera, Director of the Biodiversity and Land Branch at UN Environment, wrote about how to prevent the outbreaks of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 for Al Jazeera and what Zimbabwe should do to address COVID-19 for the Saturday Big Read.

Edinah Masiyiwa, Executive Director of Women’s Action Group, wrote for The Zimbabwean about women’s challenges accessing contraceptives during lockdown.

Webster Mavhu, a social scientist, wrote for All Africa about the affects of masculinity on COVID-19 rates among men and for Health-E News about lessons learned from the HIV pandemic.

They are available for interviews.

Many of our fellows are also involved with addressing COVID-19 in other ways. Examples include:

Dr. Ngozi Erondu advised the UK’s Parliament in January on the virus. and she was in Singapore in early March for a Pandemic Preparedness meeting. She spoke on a webinar in early April for journalists associated with Amref Health Africa.

Agnes Igoye is part of the COVID 19 task-force at the Ministry of Internal Affairs-Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control in Uganda. Later, due to an op-ed she wrote about migration and immigration, she was invited to advise the government on the establishment of an Immigration Enforcement Unit.

Dr. Adaeze Oreh is serving on Nigeria’s national taskforce to address COVID-19.

Maulik Sisodia is working to provide a month supply of food and sanitation kits to 10,000 families in India. He says, “These families are landless, small-scale farmers, nomadic households, and extremely poor. They aren’t left with any source of income due to the lockdown in India.” By late April, they’d reached over 5,000 families.

Narayan Adhikari’’s Accountability Lab in Nepal launched a campaign: “Coronavirus CivActs Campaign (CCC) to address questions from communities across Nepal and eliminate information gaps between the government, media, NGOs and citizens.”

Rubayat Khan, a social enterprise upgrading pharmacies in Bangladesh is currently working to equip pharmacies to combat Covid-19 in their communities.

Bisi Alimi is offering resources on the pandemic to LGBQT individuals in Nigeria. This includes information on his website and webinars with experts, including NVF fellows.

Lindiwe Sibanda is fundraising to ensure there is enough medical equipment and staff support in Zimbabwe when inevitably the COVID19 cases uptick in their region.

Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng is on-call in Johannesburg to help handle and respond to any gender-based violence cases during lockdown.

Shikoh Gitau is working on a “couple of tech solutions for COVID19 Kenya leg, an incidence reporting tool, and a contact mapping tool… We are designing and building based on information from other places in the world. Our key goal is to map out risks based on vulnerability like age and underlying health issues to help the government make decisions on how to deploy resources.”

She was appointed to the Kenyan government’s ICT Advisory committee. Her role is to support the government in identifying and scaling up of innovative solutions for COVID19, but also post COVID, and support them in making data-driven decisions.

Koketso Moeti spoke at Civil Tech Innovation’s virtual forum, in a webinar panel on 20 March about the “potential implications of health pandemics like COVID-19 on communities like CTIN’s.”

Kassaga Arinaitwe’s Teach for Uganda fellows are continuing to work in rural areas with no internet while schools are closed by riding bicycles to drop off homework students and getting lessons shared on local radio stations.

Ramadhani Abdallah Noor is working on supporting the development of the community health volunteers’ COVID-19 response package in Tanzania. This work involves convening partners including ministers of health and local governments.

Sathya Raghu is part of the COVID-19 response for farmers’ team along with the ministers and bureaucrats in the State of Telangana, India. His suggestions and their collective decisions resulted in launching a new COVID-19 project for the farmers in about 100 villages.

Monalisa Padhee, program head of Women Wellness Initiative, spoke at a virtual #YouthForIndia event: “Discussion with SBI #YouthForIndia alumni, on the impact of COVID-19 in Rural India.”

Robert Hakiza, CEO of Young African Refugees for Integral Development, is raising funds to support refugees and asylum seekers in Kampala, Uganda, who are not able to find food because of the government enforced lockdown. You can donate to his efforts.

Lindiwe Sibanda is spearheading the initiative “I am 4 Bulawayo Fighting COVID-19” in Zimbabwe.

’Dapo Oyewole was recently appointed Special Adviser on Development Planning & International Affairs to the Speaker of Nigeria’s parliament and currently leads the ‘Covid-19 Response Strategy Team.”

Isabelle Kamariza’s organization Solid Africa received honorable mention in FastCompany’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards for our “Gemura – Food for all” project in Rwanda.