Emerging Epidemics: Improving Preparedness in Burkina Faso

The overall ambition of the research project is to identify key elements for a smart foresighting system for early detection of infectious diseases in order to reduce the risk of new international pandemics.


This is a cross-disciplinary project, including anthropology, epidemiology and data science. We will generate new knowledge about local perceptions of contagion and caring practices, identify relevant disease indicators and communication channels and identify potentials for improved use of m-Health for early detection and reporting.




The research project is organized in four work packages.

  • In workpackage 1 we will study local perceptions and practices of disease and care-giving.
  • Workpackage 2 identifies locally relevant disease indicators and methods for identification of early warning signals at community level.
  • In workpackage 3 we plan to analyze patterns and means of communication using ICT.

Workpackage 4: Inputs from workpackage 1-3 will be used to develop a smart foresighting system, which will be pilot tested in workpackage 4.






The main outputs of the project will be a total of four PhD degrees (three from Burkina Faso and one from Denmark), a minimum of 15 publications, five policy briefs, two regional and one national stakeholder workshops, an international conference as well as tools and recommendations for an improved community based system for early detection of infectious diseases.



Samuelsen, H., & Toé, L. (2021). Covid-19 Temporalities: Ruptures of Everyday Life in Urban Burkina Faso. Medicine Anthropology Theory8(1), 1-21. https://doi.org/10.17157/mat.8.1.5104



Name Title Image
Dan Wolf Meyrowitsch Associate Professor Billede af Dan Wolf Meyrowitsch
Helle Samuelsen Associate Professor Billede af Helle Samuelsen
Ib Christian Bygbjerg Professor Billede af Ib Christian Bygbjerg
Ingemar Johansson Cox Professor Billede af Ingemar Johansson Cox
Karin Linda Schiøler Associate Professor Billede af Karin Linda Schiøler
Pia Juul Bjertrup PhD Fellow Billede af Pia Juul Bjertrup

External researchers

  • Associate Professor, Gabin Korbeogo, University Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Ouagdougou, Burkina Faso
  • Associate Professor, Maxime Drabo, University Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Ouagdougou, Burkina Faso
  • PhD fellow, Cheick Omar Diallo, University Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Ouagdougou , Burkina Faso
  • PhD fellow, Hamidou Sanou, University Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Ouagdougou, Burkina Faso
  • Associate Researcher, Lea Paré Toé, IRSS, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso
  • PhD fellow, Huguette Tynou, IRSS, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.

In the press

23 February 2020: In a comment piece first published in the Danish newspaper Berlingske, Associate Professor Helle Samuelsen and PhD Fellow Pia Juul Bjertrup discuss how the coronavirus is testing confidence in governments and stressing the need for good governance in failed or fragile states.
Tilliden til stater og regeringer sættes på prøve (in Danish)

31 January 2020: Commenting on the coronavirus pandemic in the Danish daily 'Kristeligt Dagblad', Associate Professor Helle Samuelsen discusses the risks of an uncontrolable epidemic in Africa.
Afrika er særligt sårbar i den globale kamp mod coronavirus (in Danish)