The COVID-19 Pandemic and Sexual & Reproductive Health in Africa

4-day webinar from 31 August to 3 September 2020


This first member-initiated webinar was proposed and organized by Clifford Odimegwu and colleagues based at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The webinar took place over four days with sessions focusing on different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Sexual and Reproductive Health in Africa including impacts on adolescents and youth, health rights, health systems and the Sustainable Development Goals, and more general issues of COVID-19 research in Africa. It included presentations from researchers, programme directors, activists, and donor representatives based in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, France and the United States. It was an opportunity for this group to discuss the impacts of COVID and reflect on future research and programme needs to address the impacts of COVID-19. See below the programme of speakers for each webinar.



The webinar attracted 292 total participants, of which 30 attended all four days. Participants joined from the webinar from 45 countries, 22 in Africa – 67 % of attendees (182 total) connected from Africa with eight or more participants joining from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Uganda, Cameroon and Senegal. Many viewers joined from North America and Asia. 


The webinar was an opportunity to strengthen regional networks of African scholars and test our Zoom platform’s ability to enable virtual participation of those in the region. Though one speaker lost his connection, most of the presentations ran smoothly. We thank Clifford Odimegwu and his colleagues for organizing this webinar. 


IUSSP welcomes additional member-initiated webinars. We look forward to receiving more proposals for sessions on topics of interest to IUSSP membership. In the future, we request, however, that members propose one session of 60-90 minutes. 


The webinar programme, video recording, Q&A and presentations are available below. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic and 

Sexual & Reproductive Health in Africa


4-day webinar from 31 August to 3 September 2020


15:00-16:30 UTC 

15:00-16:30 Dakar | 17:00-18:30 Cape Town | 18:00-19:30 Addis Ababa

11:00-13:30 New York | 17:00-18:30 Paris


Member-initiated webinar proposed by Clifford Odimegwu, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa



The emergence of COVID-19 on the global scene in December 2019 has led to drastic measures to contain its spread and effects. These include lockdowns and other restrictions, and have necessitated re-prioritization of government spending to COVID-19 containment and prevention measures.


These measures have implications for a population's ways of life, social and economic activities, and access to basic needs like healthcare, particularly reproductive healthcare. This IUSSP member-initiated series of 4 webinars convened by Clifford Odimegwu will explore the potential and actual impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions on sexual and reproductive health needs in sub-Saharan Africa and define a research agenda to better understand the demographic and sexual and reproductive health impacts of the pandemic. 


Day 1: Monday 31 August 2020 – 15:00-16:30 UTC

Potential and Actual Implications - Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and Rights in Africa.

Moderator: Prof. Clifford O. OdimegwuUniversity of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


Topic 1:  COVID-19: What are the implications for adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa? 


Panel - Country Perspectives:


Discussant: Dr. Chukwuedozie K. Ajaero, University of Nigeria, Nsukka




  • Video-recording:

Day 2: Tuesday 1 September 2020 – 15:00-16:30 UTC

SRH Rights, Unintended Pregnancy & Schooling, Gender-based Violence & Disability.

Moderator: Dr. Yemi Adewoyin, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa/University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria 


Topic 1: Realities of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Sexual, and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Issues 


Topic 2: Lockdowns and learning possibilities: Reflections on unintended pregnancy and school re-entry for parenting girls in Africa


Topic3: COVID-19 pandemic and Gender-Based Violence in Africa


Topic 4: COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown, restrictions and disability in Africa 


Discussant:  Dr. Kola Oyediran, John Snow, Inc. (JSI) 


  • Video-recording:

Day 3: Wednesday 2 September 2020 – 15:00-16:30 UTC

Health Systems and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Moderator: Ms. Rebaone Petlele, Demography and Population Studies Programme, Wits, South Africa 


Topic 1: COVID-19 Pandemic, SRH and Health Systems in Africa 

  • Dr. Renay Weiner, Research and Training for Health and Development, South Africa


Topic 2: COVID-19 and SDGs in Africa – a Reflection

  • Dr. Yemi Adewoyin, University of the Witwatersrand South Africa/University of Nigeria, Nsukka 


Topic 3: Telemedicine and Access to SRH Services under COVID-19 


Topic 4: COVID-19 Pandemic and HIV Delivery Programs in Africa


Discussant: Dr. Sasha Frade-Bekker, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa




  • Video-recording:

 Day 4: Thursday 3 September 2020  15:00-16:30 UTC

Methodological, Demographic and Funding Issues

 Moderator: Dr Kola Oyediran, John Snow, Inc. (JSI)


Topic 1: Modelling of Corona Virus Infection in South Africa   

  • Prof. Eric Udjo, Independent Consultant/Emeritus Professor, University of South Africa


Topic 2: Theoretical approaches to social science study of Coronavirus influence on SRH 


Topic 3: COVID-19 Pandemic and Demographic Research Questions in Africa 


Discussant: Dr. Chukwuedozie K. Ajaero, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria


Open Discussion: Covid-19 and SRH in Africa – Beyond the Webinar 




  • Video-recording:


Demography and Population Studies Programme, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa in collaboration with National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, South Africa and Population Geography Research Group, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.