Compounding effects of COVID-19 on health and socio-economic needs of artisanal small-scale gold miners at Chawagona site, Bindura, Zimbabwe
AbstractBackground: COVID-19 pandemic has apart from causing infections and deaths ravished worldwide economies on a level not experienced before. This disease has shown that it can potentially affect businesses, livelihoods, industries, communities and overwhelm health systems. The ASGM sector which faces a plethora of existing challenges, has not been exempted from these shocks. The intention of this study was to investigate the compounding effects of COVID- 19 on the health and socio-economic needs of ASGM in Chawagona farm. Methods: A mixed methods approach was carried out. The quantitative aspect employed a descriptive non- interventional cross-sectional study and the qualitative component, a case study. A logistic regression model, chi- square and a t-test were used as estimation techniques. Statistical package used was Stata 16. Qualitative data analysis used thematic analysis with CAQDAS. Multiphase sampling techniques were adopted for the survey and in-depth interviews with a total of 181 respondents, all ASGM at Chawagona farm, Bindura, Zimbabwe. Results: Study indicated that COVID-19 severely affected respondents’ main source of income, food security and thereby affecting their health and livelihoods. Results show an association between loss of income and socio- demographic characteristics such as sex, role in the ASGM, education, age, accommodation, household size. They also show that apart from the existing socio-economic conditions, the ASGM KAPs around COVID-19 are influenced by lack of information, lack of access or barriers to health care are more likely to promote non-compliance with preventive protocols. Conclusion: COVID-19 has compounded the vulnerabilities of ASGM, who already had pre-existing health and socio-economic challenges. As such, there is need for multiple stakeholder interventions in improving health access, structural support, income stabilization, food security and recovery of livelihoods, during and post the pandemic. Therefore, the study promoted the adoption of a broader approach to build capacity and resilience in the ASGM communities in the event of future pandemics. . Keywords: Artisanal small-scale gold miners, COVID-19, health, socio-economic, pandemic
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