This brief reports on attitudes and practices relating to physical distancing measures in Eastern and Southern Africa in the context of the current global COVID-19 outbreak. Where relevant, it also includes insight and learning from the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It sets out practical considerations for the formulation of communication strategies and messaging on the subject of physical distancing related to COVID-19, taking into account the numerous challenges regarding implementation and mitigation of harmful effects that exist in the region, and cognisant that distancing may, in some settings, have adverse effects and contribute directly and indirectly to COVID-19 related deaths.
This brief was developed for the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform (SSHAP) by Anthrologica on request of UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office. It aims to provide practical recommendations for response partners working in the COVID-19 response across the Eastern and Southern African context. The brief was reviewed by colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UNICEF ESARO, UNICEF CASS, IFRC and the Institute of Development Studies. It is the responsibility of SSHAP.