COVID-19: NCDC releases lock down data

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC), has released its Data4COVID-19 Africa Challenge.

READ ALSO: We’re yet to see worst of COVID-19 pandemic, says NCDC

The data results were released at the Results Dissemination Meeting, in Abuja.

The Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge is a data challenge hosted by I’Agence franchise de development (AFD), Expertise France, and The GovLab; to better understand and respond to the vast range of issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences across Africa through innovative use of data.

In Nigeria, the Challenge project titled “Understanding facilitators and barriers to compliance with non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 preventive measures in Nigeria” aimed at analysing existing data on COVID-19 to understand the social, economic, and political factors that influence knowledge and perception of COVID19 among Nigerians.

The project seeks to understand which social, economic, and political factors influence individual knowledge and perception of COVID-19 among Nigerians and how they shape population behavior.

The data result says that about 91.8% of Nigerians complied with the Federal Government’s stay home policy in states with complete lockdown and a high proportion of 88.3 % respondents believed that staying home was effective in curtailing the pandemic in the country.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, while speaking at the Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge Dissemination Meeting, said that the government will review the data and bring it into decision making.

He said that it would serve as a reference document in the future.

I’m keen to hear the results, I’m keen to read the publication that would come out of it and I’m keen to use this to influence policy making. So, I’m very grateful to all our partners who have hosted this challenge and supported us through the process. But critically, I am really proud of the emerging relationship with the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos with whom we now have a relationship and I’m sure this will lead to better things to come” Dr Ihekweazu said.

The Director, Prevention Programmes & Knowledge Management,NCDC, Dr. Chinewe Ochu, while analysing the report, said that 43.3% of Nigerians in states were on complete lockdown while 56.7% were in states with partial lockdown.

“A slightly higher proportion of female (380/410;92.7%) than males (381/469; 81.3%) were compliant with the stay at home order. Most respondents stayed home during the lockdown irrespective of age: 18- 24 years 87.1%, 25-35 years (85.6%), 36- 50 years (87.3%) , 51-59 years (90.5%, while 60 years(100%),” Dr Ochu explained.

She also said that in the survey, 81% of respondents reported visiting several places despite the lockdown.

The places visited include, market/ shopping, (71%), friends and families (11%), religious houses (7%), work (6%), hospitals/ clinic(2%) , exercise(2%), party (1%), ” She said.

Dr Ochu also said that there were changes in public risk perception and risky behaviors through the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the relationship between risky behaviors and trend of the outbreak.

Overall risk perception remained low during both waves with two out of every five Nigerian , considering themselves not to be at risk of contracting COVID-19 in both waves. The first waves was (44.6%) and the second wave was (43.9%). There was a general lowering of risk perception across the various age groups in the second wave for the 25- 35 age group.

“Gender differences were observed in risk perception. A higher proportion of males than females perceived themselves to be at risk of getting infected with COVID-19 during the first wave 60.3% versus 50.3% and the second wave 58.3% versus 52.6%.

“ There were risk perception versus geopolitical zone. In the first waves, while living in the North-eastern part of the country, this relationship was only significant for those residing in either South-west. (AOR 0.28; 95% CI 0.20-0.40) or South -South (AOR.0.41; 95% Cl geopolitical zones.

“During the second wave, those residing in the North-west were four times more likely to perceive themselves at risk of COVID-19 infection than those residing in the Northeast (AOR 4. 01; 95% CI 2.89-5.57). Lowest risk perception for COVID-19 during the first and second waves RTW observed in the South-west (34%and 46.2%) respectively,” he said.

According to her, there was risk perception versus marital status, those who were married (53%) were (AOR 1.53; 95% CI 1.20-1.97) more likely to perceive themselves at risk of COVID-19 than the singles during the first wave.

The Director noted that artisans/ daily paid workers had the highest risk perception during the first wave (69.7%), noting that their risk perception became the lowest among all employment categories during the second waves (37.7%), with a drop in the risk perception of 32%.

Noting that there were slight drop in risk perception of about 3.6% was also observed among the unemployed in the second wave compared to the first wave.

Being a business owner (AOR.1.83.95% CI 1.30-2.57) fully employed (AOR 2.35;95% CI 1.63-3.38) or a student/Corper (AOR 2.81; 95%CI 1.90-4.17) was associated with almost twice or thrice higher odds of risk perception than being a daily paid worker during the second wave.

“ The unemployment (AOR 1.90; 95% CI 1.33-2.70) were twice more likely to perceive themselves at risk than the daily paid workers,” She stressed.

Ochu added that in the PERC 1 survey; a greater proportion of Nigerians did nit perceive themselves to be at substantial risk of contracting COVID-19 during the first (55.1%) and second wave(56.1%).

In the first wave of the pandemic in the country substantial risk perception was highest among those of age 60 (62.5%) and lowest among the 51 -59 of age (37.5%) and 36-50 (38.3 %) categories, whereas in the second wave there was no significant difference in the risk perception across the age group.

“However, there was significant increase in risky behaviours in the second wave compared to the first with 20.2% increased in non-compliance to physical distancing and 15 % increased in disregard for wearing of facemasks.

Not adhering to physical distancing was the most frequent risky behaviour across both waves. Artisan/ daily paid workers accounted for (18.2%) and the unemployed accounted for (12.8%) were the least likely to comply to physical distancing during the lockdown into the first wave.

“Student/ Corper accounted for 3.8% and the fully employed accounted for (3.9%) had the least non-compliance rate to physical distancing in the same period,” he explained.

He explained how the government’s non-pharmaceutical initiative (NPI) affected public trust in government and their compliance with safty protocols.

Public trust is important for the success of a wide range of public polices that depend on behavioral responses from the public. Our analyses of public trust across two mahout national survey conducted in 2020/2021 in the country revealed that; overall, level of tryst was over 50% across the local Government Health Department (85%), State Ministry of Health (84%),Federal Ministry of Health(82%), the National Public Health Institute (NCDC), (86%) state government (68%) and the President (57%),” she said.

Speaking on the data, Dr Babashola Okunsanya of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, said that between June 2020 and now, the data looked at how people coped during the lockdown, how they responded and the compliance level.

He said that the research showed that people had trust on the government and would be ready for another lockdown, provided palliatives were given.

For lockdown exceeding seven days, palliatives are highly recommended to mitigate the impact on Nigerians. Strategies geared towards slowing transmissions rates in marketplaces should be prioritized for effective infection prevention and control in the country. There is need for us to leverage health and religious institutions as trusted voices to drive risk communication. Public trust in government is a critical factor in compliance to public health and social measures. Activities that build trust in government should be prioritized in all sectors,” Dr. Okunsanya recommended.

He noted that after the dissemination, the committee will write its report and release it to the place for reference purposes.

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