In 2020 Ethiopians knew little about Covid-19 and few protected themselves
This 2020 study reports that Ethiopians did not know much about Covid-19, and very few made attempts to prevent spread of the virus. Researchers said at the time the government should educate people about the disease, and encourage protective measures like wearing masks and washing hands.
When there were no vaccines or drugs yet developed for the new Covid-19 disease, the public was encouraged to prevent the spread of the disease by social distancing, handwashing and wearing face masks.
Researchers said that if the public are informed they would be more likely to protect themselves. They also said it is important to know how communities respond to new disease outbreaks like Covid-19.
In this study, the researchers assessed the knowledge, attitudes and practices of Ethiopians when it comes to Covid-19 disease.
They conducted a telephonic survey between May and June, 2020, in 9 districts and 2 cities in Ethiopia.
The researchers asked participants about their personal characteristics like age and gender. They also asked them how much they knew about Covid-19, and assessed their attitudes and practices toward Covid-19.
Their results showed that only 42% of respondents had good knowledge about Covid-19. Females, elders, and those who did not go to university knew less.
The researchers reported that 73.6% of the people said they had heard about Covid-19, but only 42.4% knew how it could be passed from one person to another, and only 37.8% knew about Covid-19 symptoms. Only 14% said they knew that a person who showed no symptoms could still pass on the virus.
The researchers said 63.8% of participants knew that Covid-19 could be prevented through handwashing, social distancing, avoiding crowds, and using a face mask. They also reported that only 18.6% of the public knew that they had to be isolated for 7 days if they had symptoms, and that their families would need to be isolated for 14 days.
The researchers also reported that 53.8% had a positive attitude, and 24.4% had good practices towards Covid-19.
They said that 80% of the respondents did not know that there were no Covid-19 drugs and vaccines yet. More than half of respondents said traditional herbs or holy water could cure Covid-19.
Researchers observed that 47% of the respondents were against hand washing, social distancing, avoiding non-essential travel and self-isolation. They said 31% of respondents never washed their hands with soap and 81.4% did not practice social distancing.
The researchers recommended educational campaigns to teach and encourage people to follow Covid-19 prevention measures. They also recommended more studies to evaluate the impact of the educational campaigns on the knowledge and practices of people throughout the pandemic in Ethiopia.
COVID-19 has a potential to cause chaos in Ethiopia due to the country’s already daunting economic and social challenges. Living and working conditions are highly conducive for transmission, as people live in crowded inter-generational households that often lack running water and other basic sanitary facilities. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of Ethiopians toward COVID-19 following the introduction of state of emergency by the Ethiopian government to curb the spread of the disease. A cross-sectional study design was conducted in nine reginal states and two chartered cities. Data for demographic, Knowledge, attitude and practice toward COVID-19 were collected through telephone interview from 1570 participants. Descriptive and bivariate analyses using chi-square test, t-test or analysis of variance were performed as appropriate. Binary and multiple logistic regression analysis were used to measure the relationship between the categorical dependent variables and one or more socio-demographic independent variables with two-tailed at α=0.05 significance level and 95% of confidence interval. The level of good knowledge, favourable attitude and good practice among the respondents were 42%, 53.8% and 24.3% respectively. Being rural resident, older than 50 years, having at least primary education, being resident of Amhara and Oromia regions were independent predictors of knowledge level. While being rural resident, married, employed, having at least basic education, being residents of Afar, Amhara, Gambela, Oromia and Somali regions were found to be the best predictors of the attitude, being rural resident, government employee, having at least basic education, and living outside of the capital were the independent predictors of practice level of the respondents. The finding revealed that Ethiopians have inadequate level of knowledge and are generally have a mixed outlook on overcoming the pandemic with poor adherence to COVID-19 prevention practice. reinforcing preventive measures and intensifying sensitization campaigns to fill the knowledge gap and persuading people to follow the preventive measures set by the government with concurrent evaluation of the impacts of these measures on knowledge and practice is highly recommended to mitigate the disease.
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