Burkina Faso-A Closer Look During COVID-19

Burkina Faso-A Closer Look During COVID-19


By Ethan Bronstein | Customer Success Director, Public Sector

Earlier this week, Premise provided a look at Italy and how its high levels of COVID-19 cases continue to impact daily life. In this post, we will look at the COVID-19 impact in Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Burkina Faso. According to Johns Hopkins research, Burkina Faso has reported only 152 COVID-19 cases as of this writing, compared to the more than 75,000 cases reported in Italy. In fact, the U.S. State Department reported its U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Andrew Young, tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in isolation.

Premise recently ran multiple surveys in Burkina Faso, to better understand this outbreak and gauge its impact on people. Our Contributors answer questions and send us photos of what they are experiencing in their neighborhoods and communities around Burkina Faso, and the results show a mixed understanding of social distancing.  Principally, a majority of contributors do not appear to fully understand recommended social distancing practices or appear to be following guidelines in public. Over the past week, Premise launched a survey across Burkina Faso, resulting in nearly 1,000 responses showing Burkinabes are not following the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended guidelines to prevent the spread. While 90% of contributors agreed social distancing can help by preventing a spike in Coronavirus cases, 63% of contributors believe it is ok to meet in groups.

Out in the world, many parks and businesses appear to be running as usual, while schools appear closed. In preparation for a larger outbreak, we are also seeing lines for ATMs, potentially highlighting the need to have cash on hand.

In addition to photo submissions, we pulsed our Burkina Faso network to ask about awareness and preparedness in the event of a broader COVID-19 outbreak throughout the country. Over the past week, we received nearly 1,000 responses from across the country and the results are enlightening. Over 90% of Contributors are concerned about a potential COVID-19 outbreak in their community, while 60% were confident in Burkinabe public health facilities’ ability to test for COVID-19.  

We were immediately struck by images of lines at multiple pharmacies across the country, and even within the capital, Ouagadougou. Additionally, many people in queues appear to be wearing masks. 

In addition to pharmacies and ATMs, we are paying close attention to hospitals. Our data shows hospitals in major cities like Ouagadougou and Bodo Dioulasso appear to be running, but experiencing high volumes, although not necessarily due to COVID-19.

ATM in Burkina Faso
Hospital in Burkina Faso
Hospital in Burkina Faso

Schools throughout the country appear closed, as ordered by the Burkinabe Government, while several businesses such as cyber cafes and money exchanges appear to be open with business as usual.

Cyber Cafes:

Closed Schools:

In contrast to some of our submissions from Italy, citizens across Burkina Faso appear to be gathering in large numbers and practicing a lack of social distancing.

Premise will continue to monitor the situation on the ground both in Burkina Faso and throughout the entire world. Follow along as we collect more data on COVID-19 and dive deeper into the available data at www.premise.com/COVID-19. If you’re interested in learning how Premise could help your organization get real-time insight around the globe during this challenging time email us at info@premise.com.

*As of March 26, 2020 at 2:45 p.m. PST update

About Ethan Bronstein

Ethan Bronstein is the Customer Success Director for the Public Sector at Premise with over ten years of experience across multiple U.S. Government Agencies and graduate of the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.