Partnership for Evidence- Based Response to Covid-19 , a consortium made up of the World Economic Forum, Africa Union, Africa Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, the World Health Organization, the United Kingdom Public Health Rapid Support Team, the United States National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicines and private sector firms such as market research company, Ipsos and NOVETTA has nominated Dr Da Costa Aboagye, Director of Health Promotion at the Ghana Health Service and Fellow of Higher Education Academy of England and Wales to present its new evidence on human impact , public health and social measures in Africa amidst covid-19 on Thursday 1st April 2021.

PERC is expected to share the new evidence with African governments, scientists, public health experts, organizations, academia, and journalists. The assessment will also touch on the performance of 55 member states of the African union in managing the pandemic, support for essential services, vaccine acceptability and Risk Perception.

Managing the pandemic and support for essential services in Africa.

Speaking to Daily Graphic , Dr Da Costa gave a gist of the yet to be published report that Ghana’s president is expected to be rated as one of the best leaders who managed the pandemic successfully among the 55 member States of the African Union during the first and second waves in Africa but down by six percentage points from 86%. Specifically, satisfaction with the government’s response was six points lower than in August; trust in the president is high at 80% compared to 86% in August.

International institutions such the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC) will be rated on support to essential health services after routine health care was largely halted in the early days of the pandemic and trust for such institutions within the continent .

On Vaccines Acceptability on the continents

Dr Da Costa on behalf of PERC will also reveal that about two-thirds of African population have expressed their willingness to accept the COVID-19 vaccines, but the sentiment has varied across the continent. Giving a little more summary of the findings, the report notes that among the 55member countries, 91 per cent of the people in Morocco were most interested in receiving the vaccines, while Tunisia and Cameroon had the lowest number of people at 35 per cent.

Levels of acceptability of covid-19 vaccine in other countries include Ghana 58 per cent, South Africa, 61 per cent, Zimbabwe 61 per cent, Nigeria, 72 per cent, Zambia, 53 per cent, Mozambique 75 per cent, Egypt, 78 per cent, Kenya, 59 per cent, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, 52 per cent.

Fewer than six in 10 respondents in Ghana plan to get a vaccine when it becomes available. This was 10 percentage points lower than the regional average, despite Ghana launching its vaccination campaign after becoming the first Member State to receive a COVAX vaccine delivery in February. Of those who did not plan to get vaccinated, about half (51%) cited lack of information, suggesting that a concerted community engagement effort could improve vaccine uptake.

Social media discussions of the vaccine surged in February, highlighting public interest, but also raising concerns that people may be relying too heavily on social media for information—where misinformation has been prevalent.

Risk Perception

On risk perception Dr Da Costa Aboagye will reveal that perception of COVID-19 risk among Africans remain low and particularly in Ghana perception is low—both in terms of general risk posed by COVID-19 and personal risk of contracting the virus.

Despite having the highest cumulative incidence rate among Member States surveyed in Western Africa (testing variability notwithstanding), evidence from Ghana suggests similar or lower levels of risk perception than the regional average across each PERC’s framework metric. Low risk perceptions were driven by low perceptions of personal exposure to the virus.

Furthermore, the evidence suggests that there is a high level of knowledge and understanding of asymptomatic carriage and transmission of the virus as well as high levels of belief that herbal medicine can cure COVID-19.

The report comments on food insecurity, loss income and covid-19 related mental health issues in Africa given the untold hardship of the pandemic. He noted.

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