The pandemic and Africa: a review of the psychological, social, and nutritional impact of COVID-19 in Africa


  • Calvin R. Wei Department of Research and Development, Shing Huei Group, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chenyue Fan Department of Research and Development, Shing Huei Group, Taipei, Taiwan; College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
  • Maria Rizwan School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
  • Godwin C. Lang’at Department of Public and Global Health, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Malachy B. Peter Department of Community and Public Health, Novena University, Ogume Delta State, Nigeria; Department of Dietetics, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua, Edo, Nigeria



COVID-19, Social impact, Psychological impact, Nutritional impact, Healthcare, Restriction, Control


COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the lives of populations across the world. Since the first reported case of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, the world faced a situation of dealing with a novel virus. While the physical health effects of the coronavirus were the center of focus for much of the pandemic, COVID-19 was accompanied with significant social, psychological and nutritional consequences on the world populations. Governments world over moved to contain the virus through nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) by implementing restrictions on social engagement, travel, curfews, and limiting school and workplace attendance. These NPIs significantly affected the vulnerable, low-income populations as they faced high levels of poverty, challenging living conditions, and already-existing inequality owing to disrupted day-to-day activities and social interactions.  In this review, we aim to assess how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the African continent at large, highlighting the socio-psychological and nutritional consequences. The paper notes important social dimensions that faced the greatest disruptions and effects, with education being affected by school closures in Africa as across the world and resulting in learning losses for millions of school-going children. The workplace was also affected as reflected in the unemployment consequence where millions of adults lost their jobs due to suspended economic activity. Family and gender-based violence cases further emphasized the social consequences of the pandemic since lockdowns confined women and children to vulnerable environments and denied them access to protective services. The negative economic effects of the pandemic further worsened poverty and inequality for a population that was already in abject conditions. Moreover, there were issues related to the overburdening of a fragile healthcare system, psychological consequences associated with stress and depression and grief and loss, stigma and discrimination related to COVID-19 infection, and nutritional impacts covering food insecurity, malnutrition, and the effects on school feeding programs for children.  Accordingly, through citing some examples of a few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the review will detail the experiences of the populations within this region which remain plagued with economic and health vulnerabilities that were further exposed by the pandemic.



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How to Cite

Wei, C. R., Fan, C., Rizwan, M., Lang’at, G. C., & Peter, M. B. (2023). The pandemic and Africa: a review of the psychological, social, and nutritional impact of COVID-19 in Africa. International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health, 11(1), 566–576.



Review Articles