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 Zambia:

  1. Support and adherence for personal Public Health and Social Measures (PHSMs): Both support for and adherence to preventive guidelines in Zambia is mixed, with lower levels of support and self reported adherence to measures like avoiding places of worship and staying home. Support for personal preventive behaviors is high.
  2. Risk perceptions & information: Around one in three Zambian respondents believe they have a high personal risk of contracting COVID 19, although a majority agree that the epidemic poses a large risk to the country. Misinformation is common, with around two thirds of respondents believing that livestock can spread the virus.
  3. Essential health services: A high proportion of Zambian respondents who needed medical care have had difficulty accessing health care visits (42%) or medicines (52%) during the COVID 19 crisis, and those with longstanding illnesses are particularly affected. A significant number of missed visits were for care for children under five or malaria, which could have significant longer term health impacts.
  4. Economic burden & food security: More than four in five Zambian respondents report they faced one or more barriers to food access in the previous week, and a similar share report that their income has fallen since last year.

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

Access first wave findings