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EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-331784


Introduction:  In the early parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) were implemented worldwide, including in sub-Saharan Africa, to prevent and control SARS-CoV-2 transmission. This mixed-methods study examines adherence to and enforcement of NPIs implemented to curb COVID-19 in Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia, leading up to the 10,000 th  case of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in each country. Additionally, we aim to evaluate the relationship between levels and changes of NPIs over time and changes in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Methods:   This mixed-methods analysis utilized semi-structured interviews and a quantitative dataset constructed using multiple open data sources, including the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker. To understand potential barriers and facilitators in implementing and enforcing NPIs qualitative data were collected from those involved in the COVID-19 response and analyzed using NVivo. Quantitative results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, plots, ANOVA, and post hoc Tukey. Results:   Individual indicator scores varied with the COVID-19 response in all three countries. Nigeria had sustained levels of strict measures for containment and closure NPIs, while in Rwanda there was substantial variation in NPI score as it transitioned through the different case windows for the same measures. Zambia implemented moderate stringency throughout the pandemic using gathering restrictions and business/school closure measures but maintained low levels of strictness for other containment and closure measures. Rwanda had far more consistent and stringent measures compared to Nigeria and Zambia. Rwanda’s success in implementing COVID-related measures was partly due to strong enforcement and having a population that generally obeys its government.  Conclusion:  Various forces either facilitated or hindered adherence and compliance to COVID-19 control measures. This research highlights important lessons, including the need to engage communities early and create buy-in, as well as the need for preparation to ensure that response efforts are proactive rather than reactive when faced with an emergency.