Housing, Sanitation and Living Conditions Affecting SARS-CoV-2 Prevention Interventions in 54 African Countries

Timothy F Brewer, Mary Zhang, David Gordon, Roger Yat-nork Chung, Negussie Dejene, Cynthia L Fonta, Tigist D Grieve, Bjorn Hallerod, Richard Harris, Alba Lanau Sanchez, Murray Leibbrandt, Yehualashet Mekonen, Bongai Muguni, Hector Najera, Shailen Nandy, Jody Heymann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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The feasibility of non-pharmacological public health interventions (NPIs) such as physical distancing or isolation at home to prevent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission in low-resource countries is unknown. Household survey data from 54 African countries were used to investigate the feasibility of SARS-CoV-2 NPIs in low-resource settings. Across the 54 countries, approximately 718 million people lived in households with ⩾6 individuals at home (median percentage of at-risk households 56% (95% confidence interval (CI), 51% to 60%)). Approximately 283 million people lived in households where ⩾3 people slept in a single room (median percentage of at-risk households 15% (95% CI, 13% to 19%)). An estimated 890 million Africans lack on-site water (71% (95% CI, 62% to 80%)), while 700 million people lacked in-home soap/washing facilities (56% (95% CI, 42% to 73%)). The median percentage of people without a refrigerator in the home was 79% (95% CI, 67% to 88%), while 45% (95% CI, 39% to 52%) shared toilet facilities with other households. Individuals in low-resource settings have substantial obstacles to implementing NPIs for mitigating SARS-CoV-2 transmission. These populations urgently need to be prioritised for coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination to prevent disease and to contain the global pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Early online date23 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jul 2021

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Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice


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