The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on pregnant women and their infants in sub-Saharan Africa may be far greater than anticipated. Changes to the delivery of healthcare will affect many pregnant women, not just to those infected with COVID-19.

The potential direct impacts of the virus on pregnancy may include increased rates preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, and perinatal deaths due. However, the indirect impacts caused by the reduction of antenatal care visits and facility births, limited health care resources (as these are currently diverted to COVID-19 response) and delay in seeking health care, are not yet known.

Leveraging the unique position of the PRECISE platform, we are partnering with the PREPARE cohort based in Uganda  to start the PeriCOVID-Africa study funded by the EDCTP . The aim of the study is to answer important questions about the impact of the novel coronavirus on pregnant women and their infants, including the mode of transmission from mother to baby. We aim to better understand the burden of COVID-19 among pregnant women as well as the risk and mode of perinatal transmission. Samples will be collected from all women in the cohort during pregnancy and childbirth and from the newborn infant after delivery and a few weeks after birth to test for the novel coronavirus. We hope that with this information, we can develop an evidence base for recommendations, guidance and policy decisions for the clinician and public health management of pregnant women, their infants and healthcare staff that care for them.