By 2021, most Ethiopians knew how to prevent Covid-19, but many weren’t putting their knowledge into practice
In 2021, researchers reported that most Ethiopian residents knew that social distancing and handwashing could help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the global Covid-19 pandemic. But researchers said many were not actually putting these measures into practice, so they recommended that authorities do more to encourage people to comply.
Covid-19 is a deadly respiratory disease that rapidly spread across the globe and threatened to overwhelm the health systems and economies of developing countries like Ethiopia. The government put out information to citizens, as part of the state of emergency, to help prevent the spread of the virus by washing hands often and by keeping a distance between themselves and others.
This study surveyed Ethiopian residents to gauge their awareness of these prevention measures, and whether they were putting the knowledge into practice
The researchers created an online questionnaire and shared it via social media. They asked people demographic questions, whether they had heard of the Covid-19 pandemic and prevention measures, and whether they do indeed wash their hands and practice social distancing.
341 people completed the online survey, of which just over 80% were men.
The researchers said most respondents who were from urban areas and highly educated, knew that precautions such as social distancing, avoiding touching their faces and hugging others, could help prevent infection.
Overall, more than 90% of people surveyed knew how to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, but only 61% said they practised social distancing, and 84% said they washed their hands frequently.
With this study, Ethiopia joins many other countries that looked at how aware their citizens really are about Covid-19 and prevention measures. But the researchers said they couldn't find many other studies that looked specifically at how this awareness translated to action.
In fact, they said, their work shows that awareness or knowledge does not automatically mean a change in behaviour.
The researchers caution that their results might not be representative of the entire population since the questionnaire was only available to people who have internet access and who use social media.
Still, they say authorities should go beyond just informing the public about Covid-19 prevention, and find ways to encourage citizens to put their knowledge into practice.
All of the researchers who conducted this study were from universities in Ethiopia, and the participants were all Ethiopian residents.
The disease from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been considered as an international concern and a pandemic starting from the declaration of the World Health Organization (WHO) as an outbreak disease.
The objective of this study is to assess the prevention of knowledge and practices towards the COVID-19 pandemic among the residents of Ethiopia.
An online cross-sectional study was conducted among a sample of Ethiopian residents via social platforms of the author’s network with popular social media such as Facebook, Telegram, and email. The snowball sampling was employed to recruit participants. In doing so, we collected the responses of 341 participants successfully from April 15 to 22, 2020. The collected data were analyzed by STATA version 14 software and descriptive statistics were employed to summarize the knowledge and practices of the community towards the COVID-19 pandemic.
The majority of respondents 80.5% were male. About 91.2% of the participants heard about the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, out of 341 participants 90.0%, 93.8% of them knew that the COVID-19 pandemic was prevented by maintaining social distance and frequent handwashing, respectively. This shows that the prevention knowledge of the participants towards the COVID-19 by maintaining social distance and frequent handwashing was high. However, out of 341 participants only 61%,84% of them practiced social distance and frequent handwashing toward COVID-19, respectively.
The majority of the participants knew the ways to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but there was a great problem of changing this prevention knowledge to practices. This shows that there is an action gap between having prevention knowledge of the COVID-19 and implementing it into practices to tackle the spread of the COVID-19 among communities. Therefore, the concerned body should be focused on providing awareness and education for the community regarding the implementation of prevention knowledge to practices.
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