Data Informs Africa’s COVID-19 Response

A new report: Responding to COVID-19 in Africa: Using Data to Find a Balance has provided important data to help government officials understand how to combat COVID-19 in Africa. The report’s development was led by the Partnership for Evidence-based Response to COVID-19, a public-private partnership including the World Economic Forum COVID Action Platform, Vital Strategies, the Africa CDC, the WHO, and lpsos. They polled nearly 21,000 people in 20 African member states from March 29 through April 4. The information from this report will help inform Africa’s long-term strategy to address COVID-19.

People line up to board a bus on April 20, 2020, in Nketa township, Bulawayo (Source: Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty).

The most striking finding from the report is that more than two-thirds of people in Africa say they wouldn’t have enough food and water to get through a 2-week quarantine. Additionally, the study found that one-third of those polled need more education about the coronavirus and more than half believe that the disease can be prevented by consuming lemon and vitamin C. However, the report also demonstrates strong support for physical distancing measures. It may be difficult in some households, due to the fact that less than half of the respondents say they have an extra room to quarantine a sick family member.

The report also outlines 3 major recommendations, including the need to strengthen public health systems and build capacity to test, trace, isolate and treat cases; monitor public health data; and engage communities and communicate to them effectively.

Read more at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.