Assessing Knowledge and Practices of the Community towards Corona Virus Disease 2019 in Mbale Municipality, Uganda
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Background: The Corona virus disease, first identified in Wuhan city, Hubei province of China, is a respiratory illness caused by Novel Corona Virus also known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS Cov.2). The disease is characterised by; dry cough and shortness of breath with difficulty in breathing and at least 2 of the following; fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of test and smell. Uganda in general and Mbale in particular has people of diverse culture, religion and ethnic background as well as diverse socio economic activities with various practices. This multi-cultural environment creates differences in perception of information and practices. Most cultures encourage socialisation through social functions like attending weddings, funerals, work places and gatherings and Muslims who have to go for congregation prayers in the mosques 5 times a day among others. This puts such communities at risk of spreading the disease very fast and slow in adapting to control measures Aim: In this study, we aimed at assessing knowledge and practices of the community towards COVID 19 in Mbale municipality. Methods and Materials: A cross section study was used; Data was obtained using a Questionnaires to a sample of 355 respondents and an observation tool was also used to observe behaviour patterns and practices of 776 participants towards the control measures of COVID-19. Results: There was a total of 355 respondents with 208 /355 (58.59%) male and 147/355 (41.4%) female. 149/355(42%) possessed good knowledge, 131/355(36.9%) had moderate knowledge and 75/355(21%) had a little knowledge on COVID-19. Participants who were single and aged between 21-30 years were found to be more knowledgeable than other groups (P value=.001 and P value=.003 respectively).The source of COVID 19 information was mainly from television and radios 124/248 (50%) and social media 34/248 (21.8%) and the least source of information being 14/248(5.6%) and 9/248(3.6%) from health workers and Religious leaders respectively. 496/776 (64%) of the respondents observed, washed their hands and only124/776 (16%) of the respondents wore face masks. 98/776 (12.6%) were seen shaking hands and 15/776(2%) were seen hugging. Conclusion: Use of appropriate and well-designed Health education materials on radios, televisions and social media platforms like Facebook and twitter among others can be effective means of communication since they can reach the highest number of people. Ministry of Health should design ways for systematically integrating both political and religious leaders in Health Education Campaigns. Government should provide facemasks and enforce their use. A study to assess the ability of both political and religious leaders in health promotion campaigns should be carried out.
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