How People Prioritize Health Issues During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Seven Developing Countries

Peer Reviewed
16 November 2022

Dale Whittington, Jorge Bonilla, Martine Visser, Martin Chegere, Shivani Wadehra, Simon Ndiritu, Pham Nam, Jie-Sheng Tan-Soo, Marc Jeuland, Richard Carson, Emily Khossravi, Francisco Alpizar, Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah, Thomas Sterner, Wiktor Adamowicz, Gunnar Köhlin, Michael Hanemann, Nnaemeka Chukwuone

We provide estimates of health priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic based on web-surveys administered in seven developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in 2022. Using the best-worst scaling method, respondents ranked the importance of seven health problems, including COVID-19 (the others were alcohol and drugs, HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, other respiratory diseases, and water-borne diseases). Respondents in most countries considered COVID-19 a serious problem but ranked other respiratory illness as more serious. Respondents’ rankings were generally consistent with relative disease prevalence when it can be reasonably well measured (i.e., malaria and TB). Differences in priorities across countries were generally larger than within-country differences. The importance respondents assigned to COVID-19 was associated with their knowledge of COVID-19. These results have implications for the allocation of health resources: policymakers may face resistance if their actions are viewed as focusing too much on COVID-19 while neglecting other, potentially serious health problems.

Files and links

Publication reference
Whittington, D., Carson, R., Hanemann, M., Köhlin, G., Adamowicz, W., Sterner, T., Amuakwa-Mensah, F., Alpizar, F., Khossravi, E., Jeuland, M., Bonilla, J., Tan-Soo, J.-S., Nam, P., Ndiritu, S., Wadehra, S., Chegere, M., Visser, M., & Chukwuone, N. (2022). How People Prioritize Health Issues During the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Evidence from Seven Developing Countries.
Publication | 19 December 2023