COVID-19’s Collateral Damage in Africa

While Africa’s COVID-19 cases have remained lower than projected, the pandemic has had major indirect impacts, according to a new report from the Partnership for Evidence-Based COVID-19 Response.

Takeaways from the survey of more than 24,000 adults in 18 African Union countries: 

  • Almost half of respondents skipped routine care during the pandemic.

  • Almost half dependent on medicines reported procurement difficulties.

  • Up to 70% reported difficulty accessing food in the week prior.
  • ~70% reported less income than the year before.

However: “3 W” adherence—wearing masks, washing hands, and watching distance—remains high, according to PERC's press briefing. PERC advises governments to make it easy for people to stick to these low-cost protections to head off future outbreaks.

More PERC recommendations: 

  • Prioritize “boxing in” the virus with testing and contact tracing rather than wide-scale lockdowns

  • Protect health care workers with more personal protective equipment, and infection prevention and control training

  • Engage community leaders to encourage people to seek care for health issues unrelated to COVID-19
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