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NCDC RELEASES DATA4COVID-19 AFRICA CHALLENGE REPORT

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC), says that there has been a significant increase in risky behaviours in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as compared to the first wave with 20.2% increase in non-compliance to physical distancing and 15 % increased in disregard for wearing of facemasks.

This and many more were the findings of the NCDC in it’s just released Data4COVID-19 Africa Challenge, at the Results Dissemination Meeting, in Abuja.

A statement signed by NCDC Head of Communications Dr Yahya Disu said that 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.

Nigeria’s Challenge project was titled “Understanding facilitators and barriers to compliance with non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 preventive measures in Nigeria” which was 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 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 during the first phase of the pandemic.

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, and also serve as a reference document in the future.

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.

Dr Ochu explained that a slightly higher proportion of female than males were compliant with the stay at home order.

Most respondents stayed home during the lockdown irrespective of age.

She also said that in the survey, 81% of respondents reported visiting several places such as Markets, friends and family, religious places, hospitals and parties despite the lockdown.

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.

However, she noted that 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.

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

She said, “Public trust is important for the success of a wide range of public polices that depend on behavioral responses from the public. Their analyses of public trust across two national surveys conducted in 2020/2021 in the country revealed that; overall, level of trust was over 50% across the local Government Health Department with 85%, State Ministry of Health had 84% trust, while Federal Ministry of Health had 82%.

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.

He noted that 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.

Adding that There is need to leverage health and religious institutions as trusted voices to drive risk communication.

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

PR/LAS

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