COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan African Countries: Association between Compliance and Public Opinion

  •  Chikasirimobi Goodhope Timothy    
  •  Deborah Donald Charwe    
  •  Uchechukwu L Osuagwu    
  •  Chundung Asabe Miner    
  •  Emmanuel Kwasi Abu    
  •  Godwin Ovenseri-Ogbomo    
  •  Piwuna Christopher Goson    
  •  Raymond Langsi    
  •  Bernadine Ekpenyong    
  •  Richard Oloruntoba    
  •  Obinna Nwaeze    
  •  Tanko Ishaya    
  •  Khathutshelo Percy Mashige    
  •  Kingsley Agho    


BACKGROUND: The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created a global public health crisis and non-compliance with public health measures to contain the infection poses a challenge to Sub-Saharan African governments. This study investigated the associations between compliance and public opinion on COVID-19 public health containment measures across selected SSA countries.

METHOD: Anonymous online cross-sectional survey was administered to 1779 adults (18 years and older) during the mandatory lockdown period in most African countries (April 18 - May 16, 2020). Respondents were recruited via Facebook, WhatsApp, and authors' networks. Data on participants’ socio-demographics, their opinions regarding the precautionary measures against COVID-19, and their compliance with preventive measures were collected. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between compliance and public opinions about COVID-19.

RESULTS: Respondents who did not think that public health authorities in their countries were doing enough to control the C0VID-19 outbreak were more likely to attend crowded places (aOR 1.75, 95% CI 1.30-2.35). Those who thought COVID-19 would not remain in their countries (aOR 0.48, 95% CI 0.24 - 0.96) and those who thought self-isolation is not needed during the pandemic (aOR 0.29, 95% CI 0.13 - 0.65) were less likely to encourage others to comply with the strategies put in place to prevent the spread of the disease. Participants who thought the COVID-19 outbreak was dangerous and those wearing medical masks were found to wash their hands with soap under running water.

CONCLUSION: The study showed that public opinion influenced the compliance of individuals to public health measures for containment and mitigation of COVID-19. There is a need to improve compliance by the public.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.