The 21st century disease outbreaks, such as Ebola and Zika highlighted the need to use social science approaches and actions to fight deadly disease outbreaks and epidemics.

The ongoing establishment of The Global Health Network's 'COVID-19 Working Groups' aims to address the discussion and gather consensus on the emerging COVID-19 research gaps across low-resource settings. This working group is set up to work around Social Sciences studies in order to better understand the effects of the COVID-19 and which measures should be implemented.

Researchers from across the globe working or wanting to work in Social Sciences have come together in this group to discuss ideas, form collaborations, access funding as well as share outputs and resources that others can use. There is so much experience that can be applied here - let's use that to help this immediate need to supporting research everywhere there are cases, now!

Current work:

On the 8th June, The Global Health Network supported the first virtual meeting for the ‘Social Sciences Open Working Group’. The meeting was organised in response to questions raised in COVID-19 workshops which highlighted the need for greater discussion of the impact that COVID-19 pandemic might have on vulnerable populations, mental health, and education. Do people perceive COVID-19 as a greater global threat than other worldwide crises (e.g. Climate Change)? What is the impact of fake news on managing the pandemic and in planning the way forward after this emergency period?

Over 40 people registered to be members of this WG and 27 attended the first team meeting from 18 different countries, shown below:

Following this first meeting, suggested starting points to work on were:

Discuss and implement ideas on how to focus/ develop studyie targetting the following themes:

  • Which are the appropriate, acceptable and feasible PHIs for vulnerable populations?
  • Study Mental Health & COVID-19
  • What makes people wanting to escape lockdown/ quarantine? Why?
  • What are the gaps to understanding this and how can we get around it?
  • Understand how social stigma and fear has impacted healthcare seeking behaviours
  • Communication during the COVID-19 pandemic: what has worked well, what hasn't?

After a meeting with the team leaders on the 10/07/2020, using the themes identified in the report from the first meeting it was decided that the WG would be best utilised splitting members into 2 subgroups working on the following themes:

COVID-19 knowledge gaps and perceptions at the community level

All WG members who want to talke this topic, can participate on the next call which is to be held on the 17 July, 13:00 - 14:00. In this meeting the Group’s next steps will be discussed. Please get in touch at if you are a member of the group and have not yet received an invite to this call.

The impact on the mental health of healthcare workers

Leaders of this WG are meeting and developing a draft protocol that will then be the bases for the first subgroup call, where all the members will be invited and share their ideas to help shape a resulting protocol.

Discussion Forum

A discussion forum is available here for members of this Working Group to communicate


Here you are able to find all the working documents from the different WGs for you to comment on 


How to become part of this WG?

If you are interesting please register here and we will be in touch!

We look forward to hearing back from you and hope we can work together to support a strong and equitable global research response during this Pandemic