May 26, 2022

Data must drive decisions to balance COVID-19 measures against economic disruption – Experts

2 min read

By Christopher Bendana

Kampala, Uganda

A report prepared by the Partnership Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) has highlighted the most pressing challenges in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus while balancing economic considerations.

The partnerships include the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Resolve to Save Lives, World Health Organization, and World Economic Forum, Ipsos, UK Public Health Rapid Support, and Novetta Mission Analytics.

The report launched last week is based on social, economic, and population movement data. It also looked at the epidemiological and security data of the countries surveyed. The data helped to evaluate the acceptability, impact, and effectiveness of public health and social measures for COVID -19

The report ‘Responding to COVID-19 in Africa: Using Data to Find a Balance’  from the survey of 22 cities in 20 sub-Saharan countries carried out from 29 March-17 Aprils talked of major fears among populations as going hungry and running out of money.

In East Africa, the research team including Kampala, Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam in the assessment.

About infection perceptions, it reveals that 61% of individuals believe the virus is a threat to the nation-state but the figure declines to 44% when they are asked about the threat of the virus to them as individuals.

About 74% of older people trusted information provided by the government, however, the figures reduced among the young, dropping to 61%.

Speaking during a virtual press conference last week as they launched the report, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa praised the African countries on having set up incident management systems.

“Use the findings to strengthen your policies, “she beseeched African governments.

The team lists multiple recommendations. It says governments need to strengthen public health systems. It also recommends more engagement with the local communities to adapt to public health and social measures (PHSM) according to the local situation and effectively communicate risk to gain public support.

It calls on the government to set up the criteria of re-stating and replacing PHSM and make them known to the public.

It calls on governments to provide relief to lessen the negative impact of the diseases on the public.

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