The Critical Need for Pooled Data on Coronavirus Disease 2019 in African Children: An AFREhealth Call for Action Through Multicountry Research Collaboration

Nadia A Sam-Agudu, Helena Rabie, Michel Tshiasuma Pipo, Liliane Nsuli Byamungu, Refiloe Masekela, Marieke M van der Zalm, Andrew Redfern, Angela Dramowski, Abdon Mukalay, Onesmus W Gachuno, Nancy Mongweli, John Kinuthia, Daniel Katuashi Ishoso, Emmanuella Amoako, Elizabeth Agyare, Evans K Agbeno, Aishatu Mohammed Jibril, Asara M Abdullahi, Oma Amadi, Umar Mohammed Umar, Birhanu T Ayele, Rhoderick N Machekano, Peter S Nyasulu, Michel P Hermans, John Otokoye Otshudiema, Christian Bongo-Pasi Nswe, Jean-Marie N Kayembe, Placide Mbala-Kingebeni, Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, Hellen Tukamuhebwa Aanyu, Philippa Musoke, Mary Glenn Fowler, Nelson Sewankambo, Fatima Suleman, Prisca Adejumo, Aster Tsegaye, Alfred Mteta, Emilia V Noormahomed, Richard J Deckelbaum, Alimuddin Zumla, Don Jethro Mavungu Landu, Léon Tshilolo, Serge Zigabe, Ameena Goga, Edward J Mills, Lawal W Umar, Mariana Kruger, Lynne M Mofenson, Jean B Nachega,
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Globally, there are prevailing knowledge gaps in the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and outcomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among children and adolescents; and these gaps are especially wide in African countries. The availability of robust age-disaggregated data is a critical first step in improving knowledge on disease burden and manifestations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among children. Furthermore, it is essential to improve understanding of SARS-CoV-2 interactions with comorbidities and coinfections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis, malaria, sickle cell disease, and malnutrition, which are highly prevalent among children in sub-Saharan Africa. The African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) COVID-19 Research Collaboration on Children and Adolescents is conducting studies across Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa to address existing knowledge gaps. This consortium is expected to generate key evidence to inform clinical practice and public health policy-making for COVID-19 while concurrently addressing other major diseases affecting children in African countries.