Responding to COVID-19 in African Countries

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact societies, not only in terms of health, but also social and economic conditions and day-to-day life.

Ipsos conducted public opinion polls on behalf of the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC), a consortium of global public health organisations and private sector firms. PERC was created in March 2020 with the objective of providing African Union Member States with real-time information and guidance to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the continent.

The polling was conducted in 18 African Union Member States to understand the public’s knowledge, risk perception, attitudes, access to information, reactions, behaviours and practices related to COVID-19.

Key findings:

  1. Support and adherence for personal Public Health and Social Measures (PHSMs) such as washing hands are relatively strong. Both support and adherence are relatively lower for public gathering PHSMs, and lowest for stay-at-home orders that restrict economic mobility.
  2. The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on essential health services. Of those requiring health care services (48% of the sample), 45% have delayed, skipped or wereunable to obtain services required. This proportion is slightly higher among those who report having long-standing health issues.
  3. Respondents reported considerable burdens from lost income and food insecurity. Overall, seven in ten respondents indicated they have experienced a barrier to accessing food, such as high prices or lower income. A majority of those polled said their income is lower now compared to this time last year, and two in five respondents reported spending more hours on unpaid work such as childcare.

This Executive Summary is supplemented by the Data Deck with the full set of data.

Access first wave findings