Knowledge and perceptions of COVID-19 among government employees in Ethiopia: A cross-sectional study
Background: Knowledge and perceptions of the public about the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) play a critical role in the prevention of the disease through adopting effective preventive measures. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge and perceptions of COVID-19 as well as the source of information about the disease among government employees.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 1,573 government employees from 46 public institutions located in Addis Ababa was undertaken from 8th to 19th June 2020. Systematic random sampling or consecutive sampling techniques were used to select the study participants. Paper-based self-administered questionnaires were used for data collection. ANOVA test and t-test were used to assess the difference between the groups.
Results: The respondents demonstrated very high knowledge of the cause of COVID-19 (93%), its main clinical symptoms (>90%), modes of transmission (89%), and the main preventive measures (>90%). Almost all respondents reported that people with travel history (86.8%) or people with close contact with COVID-19 patients (93.5%) were at higher risk to coronavirus infection. About 51% of the participants reported that people without travel history or people who had no contact with confirmed cases were also at risk of infection. About 84% of the respondents perceived those older adults above 60 years were most at risk to die from COVID-19. The majority of the respondents reported that adults with other underlying health problems (95.4%), cigarette smokers (88.1%) and substance users (87.5%) were more likely to die from the disease. Television (32.2%) and health workers (30.5%) constituted the most trusted sources of information related to COVID-19.
Conclusions: This study has found higher levels of knowledge and perceptions among respondents about COVID-19. Efforts should be focused on improving the knowledge, perceived susceptibility, severity, and benefits of preventive measures by providing timely and adequate information through trusted sources of information. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2020; 35(3):000-000]
Keywords: COVID-19, Ethiopia, Government employees, Knowledge, Perception, SARS-COV-2