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Survey on Socio-Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Households Report: Case for Kenya

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The novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) which was declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) has had negative economic impact in many countries across the world. The inevitable measures that have been put in place to curb the spread of the highly contagious virus and the looming uncertainty about the disease have had knock-on effects on businesses and workers’ incomes. In order to enhance response to the pandemic, the Government of Kenya established the National Coordination Committee on the Response to the Corona Virus Pandemic (NCCRCP). Among the committee’s tasks was to undertake a household Economic Impact Assessment which will provide data to facilitate formulation of appropriate strategies to respond to economic effects of the disease. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is supporting the Committee to undertake the surveys whose overall objective will be to assess the economic impact of the COVID-19 in Kenya.

Labour force participation rate of the population age 18 years and above in the seven days preceding the survey was 56.8 per cent. About two in three (65.3%) males were in the labour force while slightly more than half (51.2%) of the females were found to be outside the labour force in the reference period. Almost half of the respondents who were absent from work said that it was due to lockout or stay away instructions as guided by the Government and/or employers. Nine out of ten persons who were absent from work due to stay away or lockdown were not sure when they would be returning to work.

Overall, there has been a 51.7 per cent increase in the cost of transport. Migori County recorded the highest increase while Turkana County recorded the least at 77.2 and 24.4 per cent respectively.

Nationally, 30.5 Per Cent of households were unable to pay rent on the agreed date with the landlord . The results show that at least 21.5 per cent of the households in Kenya who usually pay rent on the dates agreed with landlords were unable to pay rent for the month of April 2020. Reduced income/earnings (52.9%) was the main reason for inability by households to pay rent. Only a small proportion of households (8.7%) received waiver/relief from their landlords for the same month.

Findings from the survey show that 17 per cent of the households reported having at least one member with a pre-existing medical condition. One out of every eight households reported that a member sought health services during the period under review with majority (30.5%) seeking the services from government hospital.

Almost all (99.4%) adults age 18 years and above have heard about Coronavirus. Majority of those who had heard about corona virus acquired the information through Radio and Television at 82.0 and 63.3 per cent, respectively. According to the survey, 97.2 per cent of households cited soap and water for hand washing as the main method that one can use for protection against Coronavirus.

Nationally, more than half (57.9) of the households have members who usually attend learning institutions. Home schooling was reported as the main coping mechanism used by majority (42.8%) of the households to continue with learning. Notably, 24.6 per cent of households with members who usually attend any learning institution were not using any method to continue with learning.

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Source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics