A study by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has revealed that 77.4 percent of households in Ghana experienced a decrease in their income since March 16, 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions were first introduced.
The Households and Jobs Tracker is an initiative led by GSS in partnership with UNICEF and the World Bank, with technical support from Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA).
Speaking at the launch of the report, Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim, Government Statistician, said, this suggests that, approximately 22 million Ghanaians were affected by a reduction in their household income, adding, “Households that reported relying on income from a non-farm family business were the hardest hit.”
This nationally-representative sample survey is one of three COVID-19 impact studies being implemented by GSS. The intention is to follow over 3,000 households from all 16 regions of Ghana through telephone-based interviews.
“To cope with the effects of COVID-19, more than half (52.1 percent) of households reduced food consumption with 77.4 percent of households indicating that they were severely affected by increase in prices of food. About 9 percent of households reported to have received some form of assistance, especially free food. The survey however found that, out of the 29.9 percent of children 6-14 years who are on the school feeding programmes, more than half (57 percent) still received food in the previous 4 weeks while schools remain closed,” Prof. Annim said.
From June 10 – 25, 2020, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) interviewed thousands of households across the country to understand how the novel coronavirus has impacted their lives and work.
The study is planned for a seven-month period, from June to December 2020, to accommodate multiple waves of surveys that will help assess mobility across different dimensions of living conditions as a result of the effects of the Virus and the attendant different interventions by both households and the State.
The survey consisted of two modules – Module A focused on effects of the COVID-19 on households generally and Module B assesses the effects of the pandemic on children and family situations.
“The effect on education remains a major challenge with the closure of schools being considered the main disruption to households. As many as 35 percent of primary and JHS school children and 28 percent of SHS children were not engaged in any form of learning while they were at home.
“The biggest challenge faced by children for home learning within this period is lack of basic tools such as computers or phones. Access to these tools is affecting a quarter (25.6 percent) of basic school children and one-third (32.7 percent) of SHS children. Almost all children (96.6 percent) are likely to return to school once the restrictions are eased and schools reopened,” Prof. Annim said.
Preparations are already underway for the second round of this survey in August 2020. Several thematic reports including one on the survey methodology that provide more insights on the effect of COVID-19 in areas such as healthcare, education, employment, food security and household coping mechanisms will be released in the coming weeks.