Primary and Secondary Effects of COVID-19 on Women and Children in Ghana (Issue 2)

The wellbeing of children in Ghana in the COVID-19 pandemic (2)

A young girl in a face mask


The analysis presented in this report used the second wave of data (collected in September 2020) from a longitudinal national representative phone survey.  

The sample size for the analysis consisted of 5,032 children aged 0-17 years (49.1% females) living in 1,873 respondent households, representing all 16 regions, rural and urban areas in Ghana. Interviews were conducted in local languages.

Half a year since the detection of the first case of COVID-19 infection in Ghana, the effects of the pandemic on multiple dimensions of children and women’s wellbeing were substantial: 

  • The percentage of children living in households whose primary breadwinner had not worked in the seven days preceding the survey had fallen from 28.9% in June to 21.0% in September 2020. Urban areas registered the most extensive recovery.
  • 89.4% of households with children aged 6-14 years who usually received meals from school feeding programmes before March 16, 2020, had not received these meals in the four weeks preceding the survey in September, doubling the incidence rate registered in June.
  • In September, the percentage of households with at least one child younger than 15 years, falling sick during the seven days preceding the survey had increased compared to June, which was significantly positively correlated with having fewer meals than usual.
  • More than 70% of households with children aged 4-17 years indicated that their children had experienced negative emotions less often than in June. Children’s concern about the pandemic and households’ awareness of preventive measures against COVID-19 (besides hand washing/use of sanitiser and mask/gloves) had also fallen.
  • Since the outbreak of the pandemic, children’s engagement in household chores had increased by more than 10 percentage points. However, the engagement in household work or selling activities had decreased in September and reversed the initial increase in June.
  • The share of children exposed to physical punishment in their households had continuously increased from 18.3% before March 16, 2020, to 26.1% and 28.9% in June and September, respectively.
  • A higher percentage of children attending Primary, Junior or Senior High School before March 16 were engaged in education or learning activities in September than in June. Also, children, parents or caregivers had more contact with teachers: 48.3% against 37.9% in June.
  • Awareness of government interventions designed to guarantee water and electricity access had not reached all the population.
Primary and Secondary Effects of COVID-19 (Issue 2)
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