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 in South Africa:

  1. Support and adherence for personal Public Health and Social Measures (PHSMs): Both support for, and adherence to, PHSMs in South Africa are high relative to other African Union (AU) Member States surveyed.
  2. Risk perceptions & information: Around half of respondents in South Africa believe they are at risk for contracting COVID 19, a significantly higher share than in other AU Member States surveyed, reflecting the country’s large epidemic. However, many respondents in South Africa hold misconceptions or believe rumors or myths.
  3. Essential health services: A high proportion of respondents who needed medical care have had difficulty accessing health care visits (38%) or medicines (31%) during the COVID 19 crisis, and those with longstanding illnesses are particularly affected.
  4. Economic burden & food security: A majority of respondents (62%) report having lost income compared to last year, and many are facing difficulty accessing food. Only 22% report receiving additional aid from the government in the previous month.

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

Access first wave findings