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

Authors

  • 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

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20234158

Keywords:

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

Abstract

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.

 

References

Hosseinzadeh P, Zareipour M, Baljani E, Moradali MR. Social Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic. A Systematic Review. Investigación Educac Enfermería. 2022;40(1).

Assefa N, Abdullahi YY, Hemler EC, Lankoande B, Madzorera I, Wang D, et al. COVID-19 Preventive Practices, Psychological Distress, and Reported Barriers to Healthcare Access during the Pandemic among Adult Community Members in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Phone Survey. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2022;108(1):124-36.

Manderson L, Chavarro D, Kaunda-Khangamwa B, Kagaha A, Zakumumpa H. Containing COVID-19 and the social costs on human rights in African countries. Humanities Social Sci Communications. 2022;9(1):1-11.

Swart LA, Taliep N, Ismail G, Van Niekerk A. The converging influence of social, economic and psychological factors on public responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. BMC Publ Heal. 2022;22(1):1-11.

Angrist N, De Barros A, Bhula R, Chakera S, Cummiskey C, DeStefano J, et al. Building back better to avert a learning catastrophe: Estimating learning loss from COVID-19 school shutdowns in Africa and facilitating short-term and long-term learning recovery. Int J Educational Develop. 2021;84:102397.

Nwokeocha S. Impact of COVID-19 on Teaching and Learning in Africa Assessed by the Education Unions. J Educat Learning, 2021;10(4):15-26.

Datzberger S, Parkes J, Bhatia A, Nagawa R, Kasidi JR, Musenze BJ, et al. Intensified inequities: Young people's experiences of Covid‐19 and school closures in Uganda. Children Society. 2023;37(1):71-90.

Duby Z, Jonas K, Bunce B, Bergh K, Maruping K, Fowler C, et al. Navigating education in the context of COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures: challenges and resilience among adolescent girls and young women in South Africa. In Frontiers in Education. Frontiers Media SA. 2022;7.

Posel D, Oyenubi A, Kollamparambil U. Job loss and mental health during the COVID-19 lockdown: Evidence from South Africa. PloS one. 2021;16(3):e0249352.

Danquah M, Schotte S, Sen K. COVID-19 and employment: Insights from the sub-saharan african experience. Indian J Labour Economics. 2020;63:23-30.

Arthur S, Caleb T, Abanis T, Siraje K, Eliab Mpora B. Analysis of the effects of COVID 19 on the operations and sustainability of SMEs in South Western region, Uganda. Afr J Business Managt. 2021;15(7):174-83.

Uzobo E, Ayinmoro AD. Trapped between two pandemics: domestic violence cases under COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: a scoping review. Community Heal Equity Res Policy. 2023;43(3):319-28.

Mahlangu P, Gibbs A, Shai N, Machisa M, Nunze N, Sikweyiya Y. Impact of COVID-19 lockdown and link to women and children’s experiences of violence in the home in South Africa. BMC Publ Heal. 2022;22(1):1029.

Stevens LM, Rockey JC, Rockowitz SR, Kanja W, Colloff MF, Flowe HD. Children's vulnerability to sexual violence during COVID-19 in Kenya: Recommendations for the future. Frontiers Global Women's Heal. 2021;2:630901.

Koudjom E, Tamwo S, Kpognon KD. Does poverty increase COVID-19 in Africa? A cross-country analysis. Health Economics Rev. 2022;12(1):1-14.

Bukari C, Essilfie G, Aning-Agyei MA, Otoo IC, Kyeremeh C, Owusu AA, et al. Impact of COVID-19 on poverty and living standards in Ghana: A micro-perspective. Cogent Economics Finance. 2021;9(1):1879716.

Anyanwu JC, Salami AO. The impact of COVID‐19 on African economies: An introduction. Afr Development Rev. 2021;33(1):S1.

Amu H, Dowou RK, Saah FI, Efunwole JA, Bain LE, Tarkang EE. COVID-19 and health systems functioning in sub-Saharan Africa using the “WHO Building Blocks”: the challenges and responses. Frontiers Publ Heal. 2022;10:856397.

Nchasi G, Okonji OC, Jena R, Ahmad S, Soomro U, Kolawole BO, et al. Challenges faced by African healthcare workers during the third wave of the pandemic. Health Sci Rep. 2022;5(6):e893.

Tessema GA, Kinfu Y, Dachew BA, Tesema AG, Assefa Y, Alene KA, et al. The COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare systems in Africa: a scoping review of preparedness, impact and response. BMJ Global Heal. 2021;6(12):e007179.

Chersich MF, Gray G, Fairlie L, Eichbaum Q, Mayhew S, Allwood B, et al. COVID-19 in Africa: care and protection for frontline healthcare workers. Globalization Health. 2000;16:1-6.

Chen J, Farah N, Dong RK, Chen RZ, Xu W, Yin J, et al. Mental health during the COVID-19 crisis in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Environmental Res Publ Heal. 2021;18(20):10604.

Kassaw C, Pandey D. COVID-19 pandemic related to anxiety disorder among communities using public transport at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 2020: cross-sectional study design. Human Arenas. 2021;1-10.

Shah J, Monroe-Wise A, Talib Z, Nabiswa A, Said M, Abeid A, et al. Mental health disorders among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional survey from three major hospitals in Kenya. BMJ Open. 2021;11(6):e050316.

Chen J, Farah N, Dong RK, Chen RZ, Xu W, Yin J, et al. Mental health during the COVID-19 crisis in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Environmental Res Publ Heal. 2021;18(20):10604.

Dawood B, Tomita A, Ramlall S. ‘Unheard,’‘uncared for’and ‘unsupported’: The mental health impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workers in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. PLoS One. 2022;17(5):e0266008.

Kgadima PN, Leburu GE. COVID-19 Ruptures And Disruptions on Grieving And Mourning Within an African Context: Lessons For Social Work Practice. J Death Dying. 2022;00302228211070149.

Lubega M, Nakamya CS, Namugumya E, Najjemba J. The effect of COVID-19 public health guidelines on the funeral traditions and burial rituals among the Baganda, a tribe in Central Uganda. One Heal. 2022;7(7).

Takyiakwaa D, Tuoyire DA, Abraham SA, Agyare EA, Amoah JO, Owusu-Sarpong AA et al. Culture and pandemic control at cross-roads: navigating the burial guidelines for COVID-19-related deaths in a Ghanaian setting. BMC Heal Services Res. 2023;23(1):519.

Adom D, Adu-Mensah J, Kquofi S. COVID-19 private burial with 25 persons in the lens of the mortuary rites culture in Ghana. Afr Identities. 2021;1-16.

Adesoji JO, David FO, Adijat JA1. COVID-19 pandemic preventive guidelines and protocols: How does this affect the Yoruba funeral rites in Nigeria. International Journal of Modern Anthropology, 2021;2(16):570-85.

Diallo BA, Usuf E, Ceesay O, D'Alessandro U, Roca A, Martinez-Alvarez M. Clinical research on COVID-19: perceptions and barriers to participation in the Gambia. BMJ Global Heal. 2022;7(2):e007533.

Chory A, Nyandiko W, Ashimosi C, Aluoch J, Martin R, Biegon W, et al. Social stigma related to COVID-19 disease described by primary and secondary school teachers and adolescents living with HIV in Western Kenya. Frontiers in Public Heal. 2021;9:757267.

El Salih I, Njuguna FM, Widjajanto PH, Kaspers G, Bailey A, Mostert S. Impact of COVID‐19 measures on the health and healthcare of children in East‐Africa: Scoping review. Int J Heal Planning Management. 2023;38(3):579-98.

Quaife M, Van Zandvoort K, Gimma A, Shah K, McCreesh N, Prem K, et al. The impact of COVID-19 control measures on social contacts and transmission in Kenyan informal settlements. BMC Med. 2020;18(1):1-11.

Mbunge E. Effects of COVID-19 in South African health system and society: An explanatory study. Diabetes Metab Synd Clin Res Rev. 2020;14(6):1809-14.

De Palma A, Vosough S, Liao F. An overview of effects of COVID-19 on mobility and lifestyle: 18 months since the outbreak. Transportation Res Part A: Policy Pract. 2022;159:372-97.

Li L, Taeihagh A, Tan SY. A scoping review of the impacts of COVID-19 physical distancing measures on vulnerable population groups. Nature Communications 2023;14(1):599.

Lu X, Lin Z. COVID-19, economic impact, mental health, and coping behaviors: a conceptual framework and future research directions. Frontiers Psychol. 2021;12:759974.

Anaduaka US, Oladosu AO. School closures and well-being-related topic searches on Google during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. BMC Publ Heal. 2023;23(1):1-10.

Mbazzi FB, Nalugya R, Kawesa E, Nimusiima C, King R, Van Hove G, et al. The impact of COVID-19 measures on children with disabilities and their families in Uganda. Disabil Society. 2022;37(7):1173-96.

Okagbue EF, Ezeachikulo UP, Nchekwubemchukwu IS, Chidiebere IE, Kosiso O, Ouattaraa CAT, et al. The effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the education system in Nigeria: The role of competency-based education. Int J Educational Res Open. 2023;4:100219.

Ahinkorah BO, Hagan Jr JE, Ameyaw EK, Seidu AA, Schack T. COVID-19 pandemic worsening gender inequalities for women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. Frontiers Global Women's Heal. 2021;2:686984.

Kidman R, Breton E, Behrman J, Kohler HP. Returning to school after COVID-19 closures: Who is missing in Malawi? Int J Educat Develop. 2022;93:102645.

Landa N, Zhou S, Marongwe N. Education in emergencies: Lessons from COVID-19 in South Africa. Int Rev Educat. 2021;67(1-2):167-83.

Duby Z, Bunce B, Fowler C, Jonas K, Govindasamy D, Wagner C, et al. Adaptation and Resilience: Lessons Learned From Implementing a Combination Health and Education Intervention for Adolescent Girls and Young Women in South Africa During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers Heal Serv. 2022;2:903583.

Mahmud M, Riley E. Household response to an extreme shock: Evidence on the immediate impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on economic outcomes and well-being in rural Uganda. World Development. 2021;140:105318.

Toriro P, Chirisa I. Vendors on wheels! The changing terrain and manifestation of informality in Harare under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Cogent Social Sci. 2021;7(1):1939230.

Peter-Brown M. COVID-19 and Socio-Economic Inequalities among Workers in Ghana. Open J Social Sci. 2022;10(5):219-40.

Pinchoff J, Austrian K, Rajshekhar N, Abuya T, Kangwana B, Ochako R, et al. Gendered economic, social and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation policies in Kenya: evidence from a prospective cohort survey in Nairobi informal settlements. BMJ Open. 2021;11(3):e042749.

Manda S. Inside Zambia's ‘new normal:’COVID‐19 policy responses and implications for peri‐urban food security and livelihoods. J Int Development. 2022;10.1002/jid.3720.

Kamara J, Essien U. COVID-19 in Africa: Supply chain disruptions and the role of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement. J Global Healt 2022;12.

Decker MR, Bevilacqua K, Wood SN, Ngare GW, Thiongo M, Byrne ME, et al. Gender-based violence during COVID-19 among adolescent girls and young women in Nairobi, Kenya: a mixed-methods prospective study over 18 months. BMJ Global Heal. 2022;7(2):e007807.

Ahmed SA, Changole J, Wangamati CK. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on intimate partner violence in Sudan, Malawi and Kenya. Reproduct Heal. 2021;18(1):1-7.

Nakyazze B. Intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: an impending public health crisis in Africa. Anatolian J Family Med. 2020;3(2):92.

Magdy D, Zaki HA. After COVID-19: mitigating domestic gender-based violence in Egypt in times of emergency. Social Protection in Egypt: Mitigating the Socio-Economic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Vulnerable Employment. Cairo, Egypt, AUC Knowledge Fountain. 2021;1-35.

Elsaid NM, Shehata SA, Sayed HH, Mohammed HS, Abdel-Fatah ZF. Domestic violence against women during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown in Egypt: a cross-sectional study. J Egypt Publ Heal Asso. 2022;97(1):1-12.

Maredia MK, Adenikinju A, Belton B, Chapoto A, Faye NF, Liverpool-Tasie S, et al. COVID-19's impacts on incomes and food consumption in urban and rural areas are surprisingly similar: Evidence from five African countries. Global Food Security. 2022;33:100633.

Andia-Biraro I, Baluku JB, Olum R, Bongomin F, Kyazze AP, Ninsiima S, et al. Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on inpatient service utilization and patient outcomes in Uganda. Scientific Rep. 2023;13(1):1-10.

Angwenyi V, Odero SA, Mulupi S, Ssewanyana D, Shumba C, Ndirangu-Mugo E, et al. Delivering Health Services during Early Days of COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives of Frontline Healthcare Workers in Kenya’s Urban Informal Settlements. COVID. 2023;3(2):169-82.

Onyeaka H, Tamasiga P, Nkoutchou H. Food insecurity and outcomes during COVID-19 pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Agri Food Security. 2022;11-56.

Madzorera I, Ismail A, Hemler EC, Korte ML, Olufemi AA, Wang D, et al. Impact of COVID-19 on Nutrition, Food Security, and Dietary Diversity and Quality in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Am J Trop Med Hygien. 2021;105(2):295-309.

Ouko KO, Odiwuor MO. Contributing factors to the looming food crisis in sub-Saharan Africa: Opportunities for policy insight. Cogent Social Sci. 2023;9(1):1-14.

Ismail A, Madzorera I, Apraku EA, Tinkasimile A, Dasmane D, Zabre P, et al. The COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on diet quality and food prices in sub-Saharan Africa. PLoS One. 2023;18(6):e0279610.

José G, Jorge F, Victoria BTF. The Impact of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa Food Security and Human Development. Europ J Agriculture Food Sci. 2021;3(2):34-40.

Arhin B. Malnutrition among Children Under Five Years in the Era of COVID-19 Pandemic in Sub Sahara Africa: Causes and Impact. Asian J Res Nursing Heal. 2023;6(1):1-9.

DD, Messay GK, Fekadu MA. Effects of COVID-19 imposed school closure on school feeding program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Social Sci Humanities Open. 2021;4(1):100185.

Kibrom AA, Mulubrhan A, Luca T, Kwaw SA. COVID-19-Induced Disruptions of School Feeding Services Exacerbate Food Insecurity in Nigeria. J Nutrit. 2021;151(8):2245-54.

ReliefWeb. Misinformation leads to increasing COVID-19 stigma in sub-Saharan Africa, 2020. Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/mali/misineadincreasing-covid-19-stigmasaharanafric. Accessed on 20 October 2023.

Osei E, Amu H, Appiah PK, Amponsah SB, Danso E, Oppong S, et al. Stigma and discrimination tendencies towards COVID-19 survivors: Evidence from a nationwide population-based survey in Ghana. PLOS Glob Public Health. 2022;2(6):e0000307.

African Union Development Agency. Leaving No Child Behind: Improving School Feeding Programmes To Enhance Primary School Education Enrolment In Africa, 2023. Available at: https://www.nepad.org/blog/leavingnochildbehindimprovingschoolfeedingprogrammesenhanceprimaryschool-education. Accessed on 25 December 2023.

Wineman A, Ekwueme MC, Bigayimpunzi L, Martin-Daihirou A, Gois VN, Rodrigues EL, et al. School Meal Programs in Africa: Regional Results From the 2019 Global Survey of School Meal Programs. Front Public Health. 2022;10:871866.

Ferrero EM, Wineman A, Mitchell A. Changes in school feeding operations during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from 139 countries. Food Sci. 2023;15:1521-37.

Abay KA, Amare M, Tiberti L, Andam KS. COVID-19-Induced Disruptions of School Feeding Services Exacerbate Food Insecurity in Nigeria. J Nutr. 2021;151(8):2245-54.

Downloads

Published

2023-12-30

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. https://doi.org/10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20234158

Issue

Section

Review Articles