Survey results - Ask Afrika Covid-19 - Week 19 Tracker

Survey results - Ask Afrika Covid-19 - Week 19 Tracker


It is interesting to look back over 19 weeks of Lockdown tracking- for me, the Lockdown was far longer than I initially anticipated. Week 19 was the last week of the worst bit- levels 1 to 3. I am hopeful, that Level 2 will bring a social normalisation, which is required for the currently fragile mental health of citizens.

So, the key insights are-

1.    Emotional distress is nearly as high as at the start of lockdown 5 months ago and nearly 3 times higher than financial distress.

a.    The citizens who feel they are “managing” are still less than half than at the start of lockdown.
b.    Ubuntu- a prized SA culture is experienced strongly by about 20% of the population. In the Northern Cape, where the practice of Ubuntu is the highest in the country at 76%, the emotional distress is also the lowest. Ubuntu, the SA way of building social capital, is clearly a very successful insulator from emotional distress. It is however also the citizens of the Northern Cape, who are less likely to practice social isolation. Ubuntu is the weakest in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, where it lies at 58%.
c.    50% of citizens are nervous about underlying conditions. In this context, it is especially detrimental, that citizens fear going to clinics and hospitals and many are falling behind with their medication and testing for underlying conditions. Almost certainly, a second health crisis is being created during Lockdown.
d.    Fear of Unemployment is currently higher than the fear of contracting C19- even though those two fears are the most top-of-mind for citizens.
e.    Unfortunately, citizens are moving slowly through the Kubler-Ross Grief stages- with 41% still stuck in the phases of denial, anger and bargaining. Only 23% have accepted the current state. women have moved into acceptance significantly faster than men.

2.    Financial distress is very high, with 61% reporting a loss of income.

a.    Resultant high borrowing and selling of personal assets is reported.
b.    45% of loans taken are below the value of R1000. Only 12% are more than R3000. 40% of citizens loaning money are not confident about repaying the loans.
c.    54% are concerned about the level of food reserves in their homes.

3.    Corruption in healthcare is a concern to 71% of citizens.

a.    69% believe it has increased, whereas 20% believe it is the same as before.
b.    76% of citizens believe, the political outcry is all talk, no action. 77% have lost all hope, of Corruption being halted.
c.    52% believe Pres Ramaphosa can curb it, but only 47% believe he is taking control to stop it.
d.    81% of citizens want to see an example being made of the corrupt. They also believe, that corruption has distorted the upliftment and development of the SA people.
e.    Interestingly, despite very low trust in the SAPS, citizens are still twice as likely to report cases to the police, than to whistle blowing hotlines or Corruption Watch. This indicates a strong prerogative to structurally change the whistle blowing entities.
f.    When asked to describe Corruption, 12 types of corruption were spontaneously described, with half being an abuse of personal power and the others various types of bribes/ fraud & theft.

4.    Personal Agency is very high for a social state like ours, with only 11% expecting government to take care of their health.

a.    Agency is consistently higher for women than for men across the behaviours.
b.    73% of citizens believe others are breaking the sanitation rules, whilst a higher % reports themselves as following the rules.
c.    About a third of citizens feel stigmatised for wearing masks, washing hands or practicing different types of social isolation.
d.    Government actions around the lockdown carry less support from women and the youth across the different areas. Insufficient PPE is a huge concern and should be addressed/ resolved by government.

If I was in a position to provide ambitious recommendations for Lockdown relief actions, they would be

1.    Health

a.    Run a communication campaign to encourage citizens with comorbidities to go to clinics & hospitals for testing and chronic medication.
b.    Co-ordinate a team of mental health experts and strong operators to address the mental health of our citizens systemically.
c.    Co-ordinate a team of addiction experts (alcohol and tobacco) to address the addiction cycle of heavy drinkers.
d.    Both campaigns need strong scientific spokespersons, since those are the most accepted by the general population for behaviour change.

2.    Economy

a.    Make cheap data available to business, as a leg up for new start-ups and even current business.
b.    Significantly reduce the red tape for informal, SMME and SME- in order to encourage the rare entrepreneurial talent there maybe is- reduce the cost and administrative load of doing business.
c.    Create tax-breaks for PPP involving civil society.
d.    Create tax holidays for all new entities registered, in order to encourage the informal market and especially the taxi industry to enter the tax net.
e.    Launch a corruption watch, which is equally controlled by members of civil society, business and government.

3.    Building social capital

a.    Insist that the President and all ministers hold bi-monthly press conferences, which are televised.
b.    Co-ordinate a team of GBV experts and operators to implement a effective victim-protection system before Christmas and to launch a 10year project with transparently reported milestones, to eradicate GBV in SA.

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