Miscellaneous Knowledge Notes

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    Barriers to Accessing Medical Care in Sub-Saharan Africa in Early Stages of COVID-19 Pandemic
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-03) Swindle, Rachel ; Newhouse, David
    Eighty-two percent of respondents in a sample of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries were able to access medical care despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the remaining 18 percent, about one-third reported that the COVID-19 pandemic impaired their access, either due to lockdown restrictions, facility closures, or fear of contracting the virus. 'Lack of money' was by far the most frequently reported barrier to accessing care across countries, especially for food-insecure households, two-thirds of which cited 'lack of money' as the main healthcare access constraint. Continued monitoring can help shed light on who is most at risk of not being able to access healthcare during crises. This note makes use of newly harmonized data to summarize reasons why respondents in 11 SSA countries were unable to access medical care during early COVID-19 stages.
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    Measuring Internet Access in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-08) Frankfurter, Zoe ; Kokoszka, Klaudia ; Newhouse, David ; Silwal, Ani Rudra ; Tian, Siwei
    The ability to access the internet has increasingly become an important tool for poverty reduction, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite its importance, measuring internet use in low-income settings is plagued by differences between data sources and lack of a consistent definition of what it means exactly to have internet access. This Note compares different data sources available for monitoring internet use in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and examines a database of household surveys from 25 countries in the region. Three main findings emerge: (a) Household internet access may be less prevalent than commonly believed, (b) Access rates are particularly low for rural and poorer households, and (c) Many people in SSA access the internet through mobile phones rather than a home computer. Although many questions remain unanswered, household surveys are an important and underutilized resource to inform efforts to expand internet access in SSA.
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    How is the COVID-19 Crisis Affecting Nitrogen Dioxide Emissions in Sub-Saharan Africa?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-05) Masaki, Takaaki ; Nakamura, Shohei ; Newhouse, David
    Daily estimates of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)—one of a group of pollutant gases that derive from human activity, primarily combustion—can provide a useful, albeit "noisy", real-time proxy measure of how COVID-19 has affected economic activity. To examine how the crisis affects NO2 levels in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), we calculated mean daily NO2 tropospheric estimates for 43 regions that contain either national capitals or large urban areas for the period July 2018 to April 2020. We found that emissions reductions in April were sizeable, larger in more developed areas, and large in many but not all of the countries that implemented national lockdowns. Overall, the data suggest that NO2 readings contain useful information to help track the reduction in motorized transport, and possibly overall economic activity, in urban, developed areas.