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The economic impact of COVID-19 in Africa is significant

A new survey conducted in four African countries on the COVID-19 pandemic shows that the pandemic has a significant impact on food security (measured by the fact that one or more household members go 24 hours without food) and household income, and that women are apprehensive about access to health care. General awareness of the virus and its symptoms is high, as is the perception of risk of infection.

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Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA), a family planning and sexual and reproductive health data collection project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, conducted a survey in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (Kinshasa Province), Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria (Lagos and Kano States) on levels of knowledge about COVID-19 and the implications for women’s health and economic prospects.

The results of the survey show significant impacts of COVID-19 on food security and income. In all geographic regions, three-quarters or more of women reported that their household had lost at least some income since the beginning of the COVID-19 restrictions. Total loss of household income ranged from 16 percent in Burkina Faso to 62 percent in Kinshasa, DRC.

“In Burkina Faso, COVID-19 has had a negative impact on care-seeking among the women we interviewed, but more importantly, their households have experienced increased food insecurity. For example, 70% of women from households that used to face food insecurity said it had increased more compared to the period before the imposition of COVID-19 restrictions. It should be noted that the results of this PMA-COVID-19 study served as a basis for discussion at the National Forum on COVID-19 held on September 22nd, 2020, under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, with the theme “Remobilizing the entire nation to intensify the response to COVID-19 and learning to live with it,” said Dr. Georges GUIELLA, Principal Investigator of PMA-Burkina Faso.

Read more about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy of African countries and find other economic news with the Born2Invest mobile app.

Awareness of the pandemic is high according to the study

Food security has been severe and pervasive since the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions and more prevalent than before the restrictions. Thirty percent of women in Kenya reported that at least one member of their household has been food insecure since the imposition of COVID-19 restrictions, and 72% report that food insecurity is more common now than before the restrictions began.

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General awareness of the virus and its symptoms is high, as is the perception of risk of infection. Although more than 90% of women from all walks of life take preventive measures, many have difficulty distancing themselves from society. The most common reasons for this difficulty are the demands of daily life (shopping in an open market, commuting to work, and visiting friends and family members who often live in intergenerational families).

Between 20-50% of women in the countries studied had to visit a health care facility during the mobility restrictions associated with COVID-19, but more than 20% reported fearing the virus in the health care facility.

About PMA: The Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA) project is fueling a data revolution to guide family planning programs. Data is essential to inform and guide policy and program changes around the world.

High-quality data-collected frequently, quickly, and held locally-help decision makers understand what works and what does not work, enabling more sensitive and responsive decisions to be made in response to changing needs.

The COVID-19 surveys were implemented by partner institutions: Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population (ISSP) in Burkina Faso; Ecole de Santé Publique de Kinshasa, University of Kinshasa in Kinshasa, DRC; International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya (ICRH-K) in Kenya; and Centre for Research, Evaluation Resources and Development (CRERD) in Nigeria.

Overall leadership and technical support for PMA is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and by Jhpiego in collaboration with national partners in each project country. PMA is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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(Featured image by aga2rk via Pixabay)

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First published in lefaso.net, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Sharon Harris is a feminist and a part-time nomad. She reports about businesses primarily involved in tech, CBD, and crypto. She started her career as a product manager at a Silicon Valley startup but now enjoys a new life as a personal finance geek and writer. Her primary aim is to provide readers with a new perspective on the overlapping world of finance and technology.