A cross-sectional study on socio-ecological and socio-anthropological determinants of COVID-19 in Lusaka Province of Zambia

  • Alyce Fri Fonchin University of Zambia
  • Chisoni Mumba The University of Zambia
  • Linda Basikolo The University of Zambia
  • Simegnew Adugna Kallu The University of Zambia
  • Henson Kainga The University of Zambia
  • Jezreel Mwiinde The University of Zambia
  • Vistorina Benhard The University of Zambia
  • John Bwalya Muma The University of Zambia
  • Musso Munyeme The University of Zambia
Keywords: Anthropological, COVID-19, Ecological, Lusaka


The COVID-19 disease constitutes a pandemic that has created an international public health emergency. Besides the significant health challenges, the impact of the COVID-19 disease has been the restriction of movements that have heavily affected the global economy. The first case of COVID-19 in Zambia was identified on March 18th, 2020. By the end of November 2020, the number of districts reporting COVID-19 infections had increased from 68 to 96, with reports of the highest transmission in the capital city, Lusaka, the Copperbelt, and Ndola districts. As COVID-19 spread across the nation of Zambia, several factors are responsible for the spread of the virus. Despite the extensive collection of research done on determinants of COVID-19 disease, the spatial distribution of the disease along socio-demographical and socio- ecological domains remains speculative and infectious diseases have been less looked into in the areas of anthropological dynamics. This study used a cross-sectional design to investigate the ecological and anthropological determinants of COVID-19 disease in four compounds in the Lusaka district of Zambia. A guided questionnaire was used to collect data from 301 participants. A descriptive analysis of all independent variables was done. Analysis for associations of dependent and independent variables and multivariate analysis of the independent variables significant at the bi-variate level was conducted to investigate the association between the dependent variable (Knowledge of anyone infected with COVID-19 virus) and the independent variables. The bi-variate analysis results showed that 14 independent variables with odds ratios greater than one were significantly associated with the spread of COVID-19. Two variables were found to be highly significant in the multivariable logistic regression analysis model. These included beliefs about COVID-19 (odds = 3.0; p = 0.003; CI 1.2-3.3), and participants area of residence (odds = 2.6; p = 0.003; CI = 1.2-5.5). Other significant multivariate variables were ecological variable; climate and anthropological variables; hand hygienic practices. The current research provides further insight into the potential role ecology and anthropology contribute to the spread of communicable diseases. The study recommends awareness of the population to enhance preparedness and response to reduce the spread of COVID-19.


1. Frankema E, Tworek H. Pandemics that changed the world: Historical reflections on COVID-19. J.G.H. 2020; 15(3):333-5.https://doi.org/10.1017/S1740022820000339
2. World Health Organization. COVID-19 weekly epidemiological update, March 9 2021.
3. Umair AS, Wuyi Z, Haq SH, Syed A. Influence of COVID–19 on world economy and impact of consumer response to global industry. F.E.B. 2021;20(1):67-77. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1609-1851.
4. Adamo B, Hazime R, Brahim I, El Adib AR. Influencing factors of SARS-Cov2 spread in Africa. Jon. 2020 Dec;10(2). https://doi.org/10.7189/jogh.10.020331.
5. Simulundu E, Mupeta F, Chanda-Kapata P, Salsa N, Changula K, Muleya W, et al. First COVID-19 case in Zambia—Comparative phylogenomic analyses of SARS-CoV-2 detected in African countries. IBID. 2021 January 1;102:455-9. https://doi.org/ 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.09.1480.
6. Ministry of Health, Zambia. Zambia Situation Report, 9 December [internet].2020.Available from: ReliefWeb. URL https://reliefweb.int/report/zambia/zambia-situation-report-9-December-2020. visited on May 11 2021.
7. Ministry of Health, Zambia. Zambia Situation Report, 14 September [internet].2020. Available from: https://reliefweb.int/report/zambia/zambia-situation-report-14-September-2020.visited on May 11 2021.
8. Mulenga LB, Hines JZ, Fwoloshi S, Chirwa L, Siwingwa M, Yingst S, et al. Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in six districts in Zambia in July 2020: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey. Lancet Glob. Health. 2021 Jun 1;9(6):e773-81. HTTPS:// doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(21)00053-X.
9. Eslami H, Jalili M. The role of environmental factors to the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Amb Express. 2020 Dec;10(1):1-8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13568-020-01028-0.
10. Van Damme W, Dahake R, Delamou A, Ingelbeen B, Wouters E, Vanham G, et al. The COVID-19 pandemic: diverse contexts; different epidemics—how and why? B.M.J. Glob. Health. 2020 Jul 1;5(7):e003098. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-003098.
11. von Seidlein L, Alabaster G, Deen J, Knudsen J. Crowding has consequences: Prevention and management of COVID-19 in informal urban settlements. Build Environ. 2021 January 15;188:107472. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2020.107472.
12. Birenbaum-Carmeli D, Chassida J. Covid-19 in Israel: sociodemographic characteristics of first wave morbidity in Jewish and Arab communities. Int. J. Equity Health. 2020 Dec;19(1):1-3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-020-01269-2.
13. Benita F, Gasca-Sanchez F. The main factors influencing COVID-19 spread and deaths in Mexico: A comparison between phases I and II. Appl. Geogr. 2021 Sep 1;134:102523. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2021.102523.
14. Ferretti L, Wyman C, Kendall M, Zhao L, Murray A, Abeler-Dörner L, et al. Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing. Science. 2020 May 8;368(6491):eabb6936. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb6936.
15. Friedler A. Sociocultural, behavioural and political factors shaping the COVID-19 pandemic: the need for a biocultural approach to understanding pandemics and (re) emerging pathogens. Jon. 2021 January 2;16(1):17-35. https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2020.1828982.
16. Mwananyanda L, Gill CJ, MacLeod W, Kwenda G, Pieciak R, Mobile Z, et al. COVID-19 deaths in Africa: a prospective systematic postmortem surveillance study. B.M.J. 2021 February 17;372. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n334.
17. Bowerman WR. Urban‐rural polarisation in times of the corona outbreak? The early demographic and geographic patterns of the SARS‐CoV‐2 epidemic in the Netherlands. Tijdschr. Econ. Soc. Geogr. 2020 Jul;111(3):513-29. https://doi.org/10.1111/tesg.12437.
18. Abed K, Lashin MM. An analytical study of the factors that influence COVID-19 spread. Saudi J.biol. sci. 2021 Feb 1;28(2):1177-95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2020.11.067.
19. Kejela T. Probable Factors Contributing to the Fast Spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ethiopia. J Infect Dis Epidemiol. 2020;6:169. . https://doi.org/10.23937/2474-3658/1510169.
20. Central Statistical Office. Zambia: 2010 Census of Population and Housing: Population Summary Report. Central Statistical Office; 2012. [internet], visited on July 23 2021
21. Krejcie RV, Morgan DW. Determining sample size for research activities. EducPsycholMeas Sep;30(3):607 10. https://doi.org/10.1177/001316447003000308.
22. Greenhalgh T. Cultural contexts of health: narrative research in the health sector. World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe; 2016. [internet] Visited on May 23, 2021.
23. Akalu Y, Ayelign B, Molla MD. Knowledge, attitude and practice towards COVID-19 among chronic disease patients at Addis Zemen Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia. Infect Drug Resist. 2020;13:1949. https://doi.org/10.2147/IDR.S258736.
24. Verbunt E, Luke J, Paradies Y, Bamblett M, Salamone C, Jones A, et al. Cultural determinants of health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people–a narrative overview of reviews. Int. J. Equity Health. 2021 Dec;20(1):1-9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-021-01514-2.
25. Dai Su YC, He K, Zhang T, Tan M, Zhang Y, Zhang X. Influence of socio-ecological factors on COVID-19 risk: a cross-sectional study based on 178 countries/regions worldwide. MedRxiv. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.23.20077545.
26. Han, Y., Yang, L., Jia, K., Li, J., Feng, S., Chen, W, et al. Spatial distribution characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic in Beijing and its relationship with environmental factors. Sci. Total Environ. 761, p.144257.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144257.
27. Biddlestone M, Green R, Douglas KM. Cultural orientation, power, belief in conspiracy theories, and intentions to reduce the spread of COVID‐19. Br J Soc Psychol. 2020 Jul;59(3):663-73.https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12397.
28. Allington D, Dhavan N. The relationship between conspiracy beliefs and compliance with public health guidance concerning COVID-19.London: Centre for Countering Digital Hate, 2020.6 p.
29. Sun Z, Zhang H, Yang Y, Wan H, Wang Y. Impacts of geographic factors and population density on the COVID-19 spreading under the lockdown policies of China. Sci. Total Environ. 2020 December 1;746:141347. https://doi.org/ 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141347.
30. García CR, Iftimi A, Briz-Redón Á, Zanin M, Otero M, Ballester M, et al. Trends in Incidence and Transmission Patterns of COVID-19 in Valencia, Spain. JAMA Network Open. 2021 Jun 1;4(6):e2113818. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.13818.
31. Briz-Redón Á, Serrano-Aroca Á. The effect of climate on the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic: A review of findings, and statistical and modelling techniques. Progress in physical geography: Earth and Environment. 2020 Oct;44(5):591-604. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309133320946302.
32. Liu Z, Zhu L, Wang Y, Zhou Z, Guo Y. The Correlation Between COVID-19 Activities and Climate Factors in Different Climate Types Areas. J. Occup. Environ. 2021 Aug;63(8):e533. https://doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000002274.
33. Kebede Y, Yitayih Y, Birhanu Z, Mekonen S, Ambelu A. Knowledge, perceptions and preventive practices towards COVID-19 early in the outbreak among Jimma university medical centre visitors, Southwest Ethiopia. PloS one. 2020 May 21;15(5):e0233744. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0233744.
34. Attema AE, L’haridon O, Raude J, Seror V, Peretti-Watel P, Cortaredona S, et al. Beliefs and risk perceptions about COVID-19: evidence from two successive French representative surveys during Lockdown. Front. Psychol. 2021 Feb 1;12:72.https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.619145.
35. Aziz AM. Hand hygiene and stopping the spread of COVID-19. J.P.P. 2020 June 2;12(6):1-7.https://doi.org/10.12968/jpar.2020.12.6.CPD1.
36. Beale S, Johnson AM, Zambon M, Group FW, Hayward AC, Fragaszy EB. Hand hygiene practices and the risk of human coronavirus infections in a U.K. community cohort. Wellcome Open Res. 2020;5. https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15796.2.
37. Rader B, Scarpino SV, Nande A, Hill AL, Adlam B, Reiner RC, et al. Crowding and the shape of COVID-19 epidemics. Nat. Med. 2020 Dec;26(12):1829-34. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-1104-0.
38. Xu K, Cui K, Young LH, Wang YF, Hsieh YK, Wan S, et al. Air quality index, indicatory air pollutants and impact of COVID-19 event on the air quality near central China. Aerosol Air Qual Res. 2020 Jun;20(6):1204-21. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.04.0139.
39. Fisher KA, Bloomstone SJ, Walder J, Crawford S, Fouayzi H, Mazor KM. Attitudes toward a potential SARS-CoV-2 vaccine: a survey of U.S. adults. Ann. Intern. Med. 2020 Dec 15;173(12):964-73.https://doi.org/10.7326/M20-3569.
40. Tahir MJ, Saqlain M, Tariq W, Waheed S, Tan SH, Nasir SI, et al. Population preferences and attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination: a cross-sectional study from Pakistan. B.M.C. public health. 2021 Dec;21(1):1-2. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-11814-5.
41. World Health Organization, 2020. Modes of transmission of virus causing COVID-19: implications for I.P.C. precaution recommendations: scientific brief, March 29 2020 (No. WHO/2019-nCoV/Sci_Brief/Transmission_modes/2020.2). Visited on May 23, 2021.
How to Cite
Fonchin A, Mumba C, Basikolo L, Kallu S, Kainga H, Mwiinde J, Benhard V, Muma J, Munyeme M. A cross-sectional study on socio-ecological and socio-anthropological determinants of COVID-19 in Lusaka Province of Zambia. University of Zambia Journal of Agricultural and Biomedical Sciences [Internet]. 28Sep.2022 [cited 23Mar.2023];6(1). Available from: https://journals.unza.zm/index.php/JABS/article/view/798

Most read articles by the same author(s)