From John Silas Lagos
Recent survey carried out by FinMark Trust through the i2i initiative, in partnership with EFInA, has revealed that some Nigerian households are beginning to experience reduced income, lower food consumption, and reduced access to financial and health services following the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic and related lockdowns.
The survey, conducted via mobile phones, was commissioned to generate more complete and inclusive data on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting lives of Nigerians.
The survey is nationally representative of the Nigerian adult population (18+) as more than 1,800 adults were surveyed between April 8 and 16 via telephone.
Similar surveys were also carried out in Kenya and South Africa.
Beyond the direct impact of COVID-19 on those infected, there is an indirect effect on global health supply chains. 14 percent of adult Nigerians reported inability to access medicine in the week prior to April 8, mainly due to lack of funds and unavailability of medicines. 45 percent reported some form of an increase in the price of medicines.
The majority of Nigerian adults are adopting recommended health behaviour changes following the onset of the pandemic, such as increased washing of hands, staying at home, limiting contact with other people, avoiding group functions, and using hand sanitizers.
However, 32 percent said it is not very likely and 11 percent say it is not at all likely that they would seek medical care if they had mild symptoms such as cough or fever.
Nearly half of the adults report that income earned in the week prior to April 8 was smaller than the amount earned in this same time last year.
This is not surprising, as the EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2018 survey found that approximately 50 million adult Nigerians earn their income either daily or weekly, and movement restrictions have likely reduced income earning opportunities for some Nigerians.
Furthermore, 64 percent of farmers reported difficulty in selling crops or livestock. This signifies a threat to food security with the possibility of further hikes in food prices. With disruptions in supply chains, not only will available food not get to the markets, farmers may also not have enough capital for the next planting season if they cannot sell profitably this season.
Nearly half of Nigerian adults report at least one day in the week prior to April 8 in which a household member ate fewer meals because there was not enough food.
This research has shown differences in the impact of the pandemic across the countries surveyed; similar differences are likely to be evident within countries as well.