West and Central African Hub

The West and Central Africa hub, based in Senegal, focuses on emerging epidemics and infectious diseases across this region. The hub is managed by the Regional Research and Training Center on HIV and Infectious diseases (CRCF), which is based in National University Hospital of Fann in Dakar. CRCF conducts multi-disciplinary medical, public health and social sciences research on epidemics.


The main objective of this hub is to develop collaborative research, capacity building and operational partnerships between scientists, communities and health authorities on epidemic outbreaks. These actions will improve preparedness, response and recovery mechanisms and will focus on vulnerable groups.

Terms of reference for the West and Central African hub

  1. To identify gaps in preparedness, response and recovery at the national and regional levels
  2. To set up collaborations and coordination among social science and public health research projects on epidemic outbreaks (country level and cross-country comparison)
  3. To liaise with research centers working on emerging epidemics at the regional level by organizing scientific meetings
  4. To train social scientists and response actors on the social dimension of epidemics
  5. To develop recommendations for countries to improve epidemic outbreak response and resilience on the basis of collaborative discussion with scientists
  6. To promote a better integration of the social sciences in response mechanisms through the dissemination of research results to health authorities
  7. To identify different sources of funding to support research and the development of pilots that demonstrate what really works in varied contexts.

Key partners

In Senegal

  • Ministry of Health
  • Operational Center for Health Emergency (COUS)
  • National AIDS Council (CNLS)
  • Ministry of Education and Research
  • University: Dakar, Saint-Louis, Thiès & Ziguinchor

In West and Central Africa

  • University Alassane Ouattara, Ivory Coast
  • University of Abomey Calavy, Benin
  • Institute for Health Science Research (IRSS), Burkina Faso
  • National AIDS Research Agency (ANRS) site, Cameroun
  • Research and Training Center on Infectious Diseases of Conakry (CERFIG), Guinea

At the regional and international level

  • WHO
  • French National AIDS Research Agency (ANRS)


CRCF was inaugurated in 2005. In 2014, during the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, the Network for the Anthropology of Emerging Epidemics was created at CRCF, then developed at the regional level. It gathers research projects on emerging diseases in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea, and Ivory Coast, and recently in France, Italy, and the USA, and about 150 individual members.

Regional hub response during COVID-19

Senegal was one of the first African countries affected by COVID 19: the first case was diagnosed on March 2, 2020. To cope with the epidemic, the Ministry of Health and Social Action has developed a COVID-19 Contingency Plan under the supervision of the National Epidemic Management Committee (CNGE). The COUS coordinates the response. The COVID-19 epidemic has evolved through different phases, and responses have been adapted over time to the realities of the socio-cultural and health context in Senegal. From the start of the epidemic, CRCF has set up various mechanisms to monitor perceptions and experiences of the COVID-19 epidemic and developed and implemented research projects. On the 22nd of October, CRCF organized a presentation of research and training activities on COVID-19 in Senegal, as well as the first results of the investigations. Some investigations conducted in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon, are part of the ‘CORAF’ (Coronavirus Anthropology Africa) project. The role of CRCF is to coordinate and lead these research and operational projects. With the support of Sonar-Global, CRCF research results and training experience will be shared extensively.


Webinar: L’ombre portée d’Ebola sur l’épidémie de SARS-COV-2 : Analyse anthropologique de la Covid-19 en Guinée 



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