Statutory research agency, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), has launched a public survey to better understand what the South African public knows about Covid-19, the state of readiness to deal with this global pandemic and how the public feels about it.
The survey comes within the context of a rapidly rising infection rate among South Africans necessitating a declaration of a state of disaster and national lockdown.
The study will consist of two parts.
The first part will use the #datafree Moya Messaging social media platform to gather data from about four-million members, while the second part will include qualitative interviews with participants using the telephone, video platforms or through an Internet-based questionnaire.
Owing to the urgency of the situation, the survey will employ a rapid assessment and response (RAR) approach.
South Africans are urged to participate in this survey, given that it is open to all citizens who have access to the Internet or a smart device, is free of charge and does not require data as it is on a data-free platform, is completely anonymous, and takes only about ten minutes.
Those wishing to participate in the study can do so via www.hsrc.ac.za/COVID19 or https://hsrc.datafree.co/r/HSRCCOVID
The Moya Messaging community includes participants from all genders, age categories, employment status as well as income groups.
The audience profile is 53% female. Almost 92% of the audience earns below R15 000 monthly.
About 87% of the audience are credit active, 20% are public servants and 99.5% are South African citizens.
The Moya Messaging service has a significant number of community members who are older and who represent diverse demographic profiles.
“In light of the global outbreak of the coronavirus, we need to understand more about this virus, how it affects people, how it is perceived, and the impact it has on the lives of people. Understanding these elements of the virus will help us to develop accurate and effective messaging to change behaviours, attitudes and perceptions which will help control the spread of the virus,” said study leader Professor Priscilla Reddy.
The full set of questions for the quantitative survey will be field tested within a pilot process.
These results will be used to adapt and modify the questions for better efficiency and effectiveness of the longer-term study.
The survey is expected to run for three to four weeks, following which the results will be made available to identified stakeholders, the media and community members.