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Key findings
  • As of early 2021, seven in 10 Sudanese (71%) said they were “somewhat” or “very” well informed about the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to combat it.
  • One in 10 citizens (11%) said they or a member of their family became ill with COVID19, and 21% reported losing a job, a business, or a primary source of income because of the pandemic.
  • More than three-fourths (78%) of Sudanese said lockdown restrictions were necessary, even though 66% said they found it difficult to comply with them.
  • Two-thirds (65%) of Sudanese said the government was doing “fairly badly” or “very badly" in managing the response to the pandemic.
  • Almost nine in 10 citizens (86%) said they believe that prayer is more effective than a vaccine in preventing COVID-19 infection, including 67% who think prayer is “much more effective.”
  • A majority (57%) of citizens said they were worried that Sudanese politicians might use the pandemic as an opportunity to increase their power and authority.
  • Fewer than half (43%) said the government should invest more in preparing to respond to health emergencies like COVID-19 if it means fewer resources would be available for other health services.

Shortly after Sudan recorded its first COVID-19 case on 13 March 2020, the government announced a raft of containment measures, including restrictions on visas and air travel and a lockdown closing schools and universities, shops, markets, restaurants, and other commercial activities (SUNA, 2020; Al-Ghad, 2020).

With more than half of the population living below the poverty line (World Bank, 2020), pandemic-related restrictions represented a significant threat to people’s livelihoods and were not consistently followed (Assal, 2020; Anadolu Agency, 2021).

As of 6 February 2022, the country had reported 58,874 COVID-19 cases and 3,588 related deaths and had administered more than 3.7 million vaccine doses (World Health Organization, 2022).

According to findings from an Afrobarometer survey in early 2021, a majority of Sudanese considered lockdown restrictions necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19, in spite of the toll they took on the economy and people’s livelihoods. Two out of three citizens say they found it difficult to comply with lockdown restrictions. A similar majority say the government is doing “fairly badly” or “very badly” in managing the response to the pandemic.

Few Sudanese trust their government to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and only half say they are likely to try to get vaccinated.

Simon Templer Kodiaga

Simon Kodiaga previously served as the communications coordinator for East Africa at Afrobarometer.

Elmogiera Elawad

Elmogiera Elawad is the Director of Sudan Polling and Statistics Center.