KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICES OF COVID-19 AMONG RESIDENTS IN NIGERIA
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PUBLIC HEALTH PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS ON KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICES OF COVID-19 AMONG RESIDENTS IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the study
COVID-19, first discovered in Wuhan China in December 2019, has spread rapidly to almost every area of the world. The disease is caused by a new and serious form of Coronavirus known as Coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2), a severe acute respiratory syndrome. The infection has no immediate treatment and vaccine, and it has according to World Health Organization (WHO, 2020) become a worldwide pandemic causing significant morbidity and mortality. There are 1,603,428 confirmed cases, 356,440 recoveries from the illness and 95,714 deaths worldwide as of April 9, 2020 (Worldometers, 2020). On February 27, 2020, an Italian citizen became the index case for COVID-19 in Nigeria and as at April 9, 2020, there were 288 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria with 51 discharges and 7 deaths (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, 2020).
Civil society and government agencies are embarking on awareness drives for good health and social distancing to prevent further spread of the virus. Temperature monitoring was carried out at airports, and those returning from countries with multiple reported COVID-19 cases were requested to self-isolate. The NCDC in association with State governments also began tracing and tracking of possible victims and their contacts. On March 18, 2020, the Lagos State government suspended all gatherings above fifty people for four weeks and ordered all lower and middle level public officers to stay-at-home (Ewodage, 2020). Similarly, the Federal government, on March 30, 2020 introduced various containment strategies such as closing of the national borders and airspace, schools, worship centers and other public places, canceling of mass gathering events and placing the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states on lock down for an initial period of fourteen days (Radio Nigeria, 2020). Covid-19 testing laboratories were set up in Lagos, Abuja and Irrua in Edo State while State governments opened isolation centres and imposed dawn to dust curfews in their territories.
COVID-19, from the family of Coronavirus (others include SARS, H5N1, H1N1 and MERS), is a contagious respiratory illness transmitted through the eyes, nose, and mouth, via droplets from coughs and sneezes, close contact with infected person and contaminated surfaces. It has an incubation period of approximately one to fourteen days. The symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath, and it is diagnosed through a laboratory test. The contagion could lead to severe respiratory problems or death, particularly among the elderly and persons with underlying chronic illnesses. Some infected persons however, are carriers for the virus with no symptoms while others may experience only a mild illness and recover easily (Sauer, 2020). As there is currently no cure or vaccine for the COVID-19; medical treatments are limited to supportive measures aimed at relieving symptoms, use of research drugs and therapeutics.
To control the pandemic, knowledge of the infection pathways and related precautions is needed. As the medical community continues to study new vaccines or medications for the viral infection, sufficient awareness is needed to empower individuals to make choices that would avoid and curb the epidemics. Knowledge such as regular hand washing, using hand sanitizers, wearing face masks, respiratory etiquettes, social distancing and selfisolation when sick are vital to reducing widespread infection (Leppin & Aro, 2009). Studies (e.g. Brug, Aro, Oenema, de Zwart, Richardus & Bishop, 2004; Choi & Yang, 2010; Hussain, Hussain & Hussain 2012) revealed that individuals’ level of knowledge about an infectious disease can make them behave in ways that may prevent infection. Consequently, individuals may need to be informed about the potential risks of infections in order to adopt the right precautionary measures (Brug, Aro & Richardus, 2009).
Precautionary measures are required at the early stages of a pandemic to protect against potential danger and curb the spread of the disease. Consequently, in line with this, the Nigerian government (just like other governments across the world) implemented numerous containment policies that interfered with the everyday lives of individuals and led to significant economic loss and social disruption. People were forced to remain at home, companies and offices were closed and health care facilities / workers were exempted, as well as important companies. To Nigerians living in the informal economy, the shutdown now threatens their survival, as many of their activities and businesses require face-to-face communication. There is no social-security net in Nigeria, no access to food stamps or unemployment insurance; most people earn their daily living. Nevertheless, a high degree of compliance with government directives has been achieved so far, Nigerians are engaged in diligent hand washing, practicing social distance and self-isolation, and avoiding going to work, school or crowded places. Even most religious leaders agreed to stop large gatherings, forbid the shaking of hands and directed church members to pray at home and use hand sanitizers (Makinde, Nwogu, Ajaja & Alagbe, 2020; Olatunji, 2020).
On the other hand, due to superstitions and ignorance of the science behind the infection, some Nigerians prefer to pray only (even breaching social distancing law by attending churches or mosques during the lockdown) and to use anointing oils, talismans, herbs or rituals (Abati, 2020) to prevent contracting and spreading the virus. Some also use social media platforms (e.g. Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) to spread fear, project fake news concerning the source of the virus, promote prejudice against China, incite panic buying, proffer fake cures and undermine medical advice, deliberately or ignorantly (Hassan, 2020). They opined that lockdown, self-isolation and social distancing are un-African solutions to the pandemic (Abati, 2020). Given the importance of knowledge of precautionary activities in curbing the spread of infectious diseases such as the novel COVID-19, it is important to research on people’s health knowledge at this period of the pandemic.
1.2 Statement of the problem
According to W.H.O, (2020) 2,382,064 people suffer from Covid-19 globally and NCDC, (2020) reported that 541 people suffer from Covid-19 in Nigeria. The outbreak of Covid-19 may affect virtually every person on Earth, either directly or indirectly. Many people have died of the infectious disease caused by this coronavirus (Covid-19), and others have lost people close to them. Many more may suffer other extreme hardships – psychological, social and financial – due to the extensive physical distancing measures that are reducing the spread of the virus. While there may be some perceived “silver linings”, such as temporarily reduced air pollution and CO2 emissions, and for some an opportunity to slow down and contemplate their ways of living, in the balance the effects are already tremendously challenging for the society, and are likely to get much worse before the pandemic is over. Besides, health communication intended to educate people about the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and how to avoid getting or spreading the infection has become widely available. However, the COVID-19 infodemic has highlighted that poor health literacy among a population is an underestimated public health problem globally. For instance, in Europe, nearly half of adults reported having problems with health literacy and not having relevant competencies to take care of their health and that of others. Health literacy is already seen as a crucial tool for the prevention of non-communicable diseases with investments in education and communication sought to be sustainable, long-term measures starting early in the life course. However, when COVID-19 emerged rapidly, two aspects became striking. First, health literacy which is important for the prevention of communicable diseases as it is for non-communicable diseases. Second, along with system preparedness, individual preparedness is key for solving complex real-life problems. In this pandemic, it is difficult, yet possible, to take the time to enhance health literacy because immediate action is required by governments and citizens.
1.3 Objective of the study
The general objective of this study is to determine the knowledge, attitude and practices of covid-19 among residents in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
- To determine the level of knowledge of COVID-19 among residents in Nigeria
- To examine the mode of transmission of COVID-19 among residents in Nigeria
- To examine the knowledge about the symptoms of COVID-19 among residents in Nigeria
- To assess preventive practices of residents in Nigeria to COVID-19
1.4 Research questions
- What is the level of knowledge of COVID-19 among residents in Nigeria?
- What is the mode of transmission of COVID-19 among residents in Nigeria?
- What is the residents’ knowledge about the symptoms of COVID-19?
- What are the preventive practices of residents in Nigeria to COVID-19?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study has revealed that the knowledge of the existence of Covid-19. Through this study, their sources and mode of transmission have been have been highlighted. Having known all these a greater result can be achieved by embarking on the prevention against Covid-19. It is believed that at the end of this study the findings will be of utmost benefits to everyone. The findings will be relevant to those who intend to carry out a similar research topic as it has contributed to the existing literature. The research will serve as a fuel of new reasoning and further research work in Covid-19 among adults, and to health science students, lecturers and the general public.
1.6 Scope of the study
This study is will focus on the knowledge, attitude and practices of covid-19 as well as the mode of transmission of COVID-19 among residents in Nigeria