Response to Covid-19

COVID-19 has had a catastrophic impact across developed economies, shutting down cities, overloading the health infrastructure, and collapsing the global economy. Its impact on the developing economies is yet to be felt completely, but as horrific as it sounds, COVID-19’s impact in the developing world is likely to be more devastating both in terms of disease burden and economic impact. Most developing countries of the world do not have a robust enough health system and infrastructure to sustain a sudden surge of patients who need respiratory care, nor do they have the state or economic capacity to roll out extensive stimulus packages that could cushion the blow of income shocks to their most vulnerable populations.

Y-RISE in collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and International Growth Center (IGC) is supporting the governments of Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone to generate an evidence-based policy response that helps contain the health and economic devastation of COVID-19. A snapshot of our work is provided on this page.

Ongoing Activities


High Frequency Data Collection

– Symptom prevalence

– Public health behavior & knowledge

– Income shock, food insecurity

– Risk exposure – migrants


Info Campaigns & Social Influence

– Personal appeals, social media

– Community leaders (imams, teachers)

– A/B testing – incentives, identity, messaging content

– Scale effective strategies via govt, telcos


Specific Sectors & Interventions

– RMG Sector – Survey managers

– Produce and distribute masks

– Effects of cash distribution

– Encouraging harvest workers


Migration Data to IdentiFY HoTSPOTS

-Migrants as Disease Vectors

– Identify districts and upazilas at risk

– Losses in remittance revenues

– Internataional transmission risk


Econ-Epi Modeling

– Add economic and behavioral factors to epidemiological models

– Discipline with country data

– Provide specific policy guidance for LMICs


Targeting of Social Protection

– How should we target cash transfers?

– How do we identify beneficiaries?

– Combine telecom records with detailed survey data

– Use machine learning


Build a COVID-19 Website

– Build a website that serves as a one-stop shop for policy research on COVID-19 in developing countries, with a special focus on Bangladesh.

– Data dashboards, policy briefs, webinars will be posted

Panelists: Anir Chowdhury (Policy Advisor, A2i – Government of Bangladesh); Mushfiq Mobarak (Professor of Economics, Yale University), Sabina Rashid (Dean and Professor at James P Grant School of Public Health), and Asif Saleh (Executive Director, BRAC)

Moderators: Maria May (Senior Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and Mark Miller (Senior Research Fellow, ODI)

Watch full event here.

Our Partners