The recent Covid-19 pandemic has had severe consequences on the lives of people across the world. Despite it being a public health problem, the auxiliary effect of this pandemic cuts across all facets of life in terms of health, economics, education, just to mention a few. The scare of this pandemic keeps increasing each day as the incidence of the disease keeps increasing across the globe. With the disease currently in 190 countries despite the innovative effort by governments, international organizations and stakeholders, the numbers keep swelling with more than 560000/25000 confirmed cases/death recorded within a short time.
With no cure at the moment to this pandemic, preventive measures stand as the only way to decrease the spread of the disease. Effective handwashing, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, avoiding direct contacts, sneezing and coughing cautiously, staying physically active, among other preventive measures have been suggested by public health professionals to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Hence the need for the public to be well informed about Covid-19.
Information and knowledge sharing are easily done in this modern era than years past and it will still get better and easier with the passage of time. However, the advent of social media and other forms of information sharing without verification of its authenticity has also brought about the throwing of junk and wrong information to the general public. The World Health Organization warns the world about trending myths wrongfully propagated by people through diverse means. This misinformation can mislead people thereby increasing their risk to the spread of the disease.
A recent survey conducted by Leadccoach Consult, led by Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Bondah (Lead Researcher of Leadccoach Consult and a Public health researcher at Ensign College of Public Health), revealed interesting findings with regards to how Ghanaians scored when tested on these myths.
With the majority (74%) of Ghanaians believing they know “a lot” and a few saying they know “some or only a little” about Covid-19, the average score of Ghanaians who took the test on Covid-19 myths was 50%. Thus on average, Ghanaians believe in about half of the misinformation thrown out there to them. Social media (WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and radio/TV were the widely stated sources of information on Covid-19 among 88% and 59% of Ghanaians. Key myths that were wrongly believed by participants included the following:
- Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body can kill the new coronavirus (37.5%)
- Eating garlic helps prevent infection with the new coronavirus (36%)
- Taking a hot bath can prevent the new coronavirus disease (33.4%)
- COVID-19 virus cannot be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates (30%)
- Regularly rinsing your nose with salt water help prevent infection with the new coronavirus (30%)
- Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus (23%)
- Hand dryers are effective in killing the new coronavirus (27%).
The survey was completed by mainly males(53%), 18-30 years(76%), mostly with tertiary level education (88%) and currently living in Greater Accra(36%), Ashanti(19%), Central(14%) and all other regions(31%) of Ghana. It is recommended that Ghanaians seek relevant information from credible authorities and that public health stakeholders address some of these misconceptions that are widely spread among Ghanaians.
Leadccoach Consult heads a research network that conducts high-level independent research and consultation services on social and behavioural, Public health, educational, market and business research, and consultation using face to face, online and institutional based approaches.