Purpose: The key preventive measures adopted to minimise the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had significant health, economic and physical impacts mostly in developing countries. This study evaluated the health, economic and physical impacts of COVID-19 lockdown measures among sub-Saharan African (SSA) population and associated demographic variations.

Methods: A total of 1970 respondents took part in this web-based cross-sectional survey during the mandatory lockdown period in most SSA. The dependent variables were health (COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation), socioeconomic (lost job, closed down business) and physical impacts (separated from family) of COVID-19. Univariate and bivariate logistic regression analyses were used to explore the factors associated with each of the dependent variables by the four sub-regions (Southern, Western, Central and East Africa).

Results: The respondents were aged 34.1 ± 11.5 years (range: 18–75 years) and mostly men (1099, 55%). 25.9% (n = 511) reported an impact of COVID-19 pandemic with significant regional variations (p < 0.0005, higher proportion were East 36.2% and Southern Africans 30.3%) but no gender (p = 0.334) and age group variations (p > 0.05). Among Central African respondents, more men than women lost their businesses (45.7% versus 14.3%, p = 0.002) and contracted COVID-19 infections (40.0% versus 18.2%, p = 0.024) during the study period. Multivariable analysis revealed that respondents from East (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.95, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.42–2.69), Southern (AOR 1.46, 95% CI: 1.09– 1.96) and Central Africa (AOR 1.47, 95% CI: 1.06–2.03) reported significantly higher impact of COVID-19. Those who reported family separation during the lockdown were more likely to be older participants (39–48 years, AOR 2.48, 95% CI: 1.11–5.57).

Conclusion: One in four SSA respondents, mostly East and Southern Africans, were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during the lockdown. Interventions in high-risk populations are needed to reduce the health, socioeconomic and gender disparities in the impacts of COVID-19.


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Cite as

Mashige, K., Osuagwu, U., Ulagnathan, S., Ekpenyong, B., Abu, E., Goson, P., Langsi, R., Nwaeze, O., Timothy, C., Charwe, D., Oloruntoba, R., Miner, C., Ishaya, T., Ovenseri-Ogbomo, G. & Agho, K. 2021, 'Economic, health and physical impacts of covid-19 pandemic in sub-saharan african regions: A cross sectional survey', Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 14, pp. 4799-4807. https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S324554

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Last updated: 30 May 2023
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