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Topics in Antiviral Medicine ; 30(1 SUPPL):300-301, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1880872


Background: South Africa is one of the African countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence surveys provide valuable epidemiological information given the existence of asymptomatic cases. We report the findings of the first nationwide household-based population estimates of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among people aged 12 years and older in South Africa. Methods: The survey used a cross-sectional multi-stage stratified cluster design undertaken over two separate time periods (November 2020-February 2021 and April-June 2021) which coincided with the second and third waves of the pandemic in South Africa. The Abbott® and Euroimmun® ani-SARS CoV-2 antibody assays were used to test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, the latter being the final result. The survey data was weighted with final individual weights benchmarked against 2020 mid-year population estimates by age, race, sex, and province. Frequencies were used to describe characteristics of the study population and SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence. Bivariate and multivariate logistics regression analysis were used to identify factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. Results: 13640 participants gave a blood sample. The SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence using the Euroimmun assay was 19.6% (95% CI 17.9-21.3) over the study period, translating to an estimated 8 675 265 (95% CI 7 508 393-9 842 137) estimated infections among people aged 12 years and older across South Africa by June 2021. Seroprevalence was higher in the Free State (26.8%), and Eastern Cape (26.0%) provinces (Figure). Increased odds of seropositivity were associated with prior PCR testing [aOR=1.29 (95% CI: 0.99-1.66)], being female [aOR=1.28 (95% CI 1.00-1.64), p=0.048] and hypertension, [aOR=1.28 (95% CI 1.00-1.640, p=0.048]. Conclusion: These findings highlight the burden of infection in South Africa by June 2021, and support testing strategies that focus on individuals with known exposure or symptoms since universal testing is not feasible. Females and younger people were more likely to be infected suggesting need for additional strategies targeting these populations. The estimated number of infections was 6.5 times higher than the number of SARS-CoV-2 cases reported nationally, suggesting that the country's testing strategy and capacity partly explain the dynamics of the pandemic. It is therefore essential to bolster testing capacity and to rapidly scale up vaccinations in order to contain the spread of the virus in the country.

Open Public Health Journal ; 14(1):388-398, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1511928


Introduction: People’s confidence in the health system's capability in managing the COVID-19 pandemic can determine public support, risk perceptions, and compliance to the required behaviors during the pandemic. Therefore, this paper investigated people’s perception of health system capability to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in different spatial areas across the country using data from an online survey. Methods: Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine factors associated with people’s perception of the health system capability to manage the COVID-19 pandemic at the national and provincial levels. Spatial comparative analysis was conducted to contrast spatial density indicators of the number of hospitals, hospital beds, and ICU beds per given population across various provinces. Results: Findings showed that South Africans had low confidence in the health system capability, with only two in five (40.7%) reporting that they thought that the country’s health system was able to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Sex and knowledge on COVID-19 were significantly associated with the people’s perception of the health system capability to manage the pandemic at the national level and in four of the nine provinces. Conclusion: Overall, the findings of this study clearly highlight challenges facing the country’s health system, both perceived or real, that needed to be addressed as part of the preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic. Timeous implementation of a countrywide National Health Insurance (NHI) system is now more critical than ever in improving healthcare outcomes of the South African population beyond the existence of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Open Public Health Journal ; 14(1):45-55, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1186667


Background: Background: SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on a nationally representative online survey conducted several weeks on the pandemic, this paper explores how South Africans responded to the compliance regulations laid down by the national government and factors associated with individuals’ confidence in their community adhering to lockdown regulations. Methods: The study was conducted using a closed-ended questionnaire on a data-free online platform. Additionally, a telephonic survey was included to accommodate individuals who do not have access to smart-phones. The study population consisted of respondents who were 18 years and older and living in South Africa (n=19 933). Data were benchmarked to the 2019 midyear population estimates. Descriptive statistics and bivariate logistic regression are presented. Results: Over a quarter (26.1%) of respondents reported that they had not left home, indicating compliance with the COVID-19 control regulations, and 55.3% who did leave their homes did so to purchase essential items. A small proportion (1.2%) reported that they had visited friends. People, classified as coloured, those who were more literate (those with secondary, matric and tertiary education status), those residing in disadvantaged areas (informal settlements, townships, rural areas and farms), and those who perceived their risk of contracting COVID-19 as moderate and high, reported not being confident of their community adhering to lockdown. Conclusion: Communication strategies must be employed to ensure that important information regarding the pandemic be conveyed in the most important languages and be dispatched via various communication channels to reach as many people as possible.