By Nelson Manneh
The Gambia has on Tuesday 26th January, 2021, launched a Covid-19 study on knowledge, attitudes and practices in the country which was commissioned by the Office of the President.
The study dubbed ‘Knowledge Attitude and Practice’ (KAP) was conducted by the National Population Commission Secretariat under the auspices of the Office of the Vice President in partnership with Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), the University of The Gambia (UTG) and A and T Consulting Ltd.
The nationwide study which is the first of its kind was intended to evaluate people’s knowledge about COVID-19, their attitude towards the disease and practices during the course of the pandemic.
The study also evaluated the effectiveness of the various communication channels (medium/source) used and messages disseminated in the fight against COVID-19 and assessed people’s perceptions of what government can do to help enforce the state of public health emergency regulations.
Officials say the study marked another delivery of Central Pillars and Critical Enablers of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2021 of the Government as they continue to affirm our most indelible commitment and determination to institute a strategic way forward in addressing national problems through Research and Development (R&D).
Dr. Isatou Touray, the Vice President of The Gambia who presided over the launching of the report, said COVID-19 was first discovered in China in December 2019 and because of the speed with which it was spreading and the threats it posed to humanity, WHO in January 2020 declared it a public health emergency of international concern.
“Since the time COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the number of cases continues to grow globally disrupting all services and posing significant threats to the health system thus taking a huge toll on the lives of people all over the world,” she said.
Dr. Touray said the COVID-19 pandemic is considered the worst public health emergency of the 21st century and The Gambia like other countries in Africa was not spared.
To curb the spread of the virus, VP Touray said the Government of the Gambia applied various precautionary measures, including the closure of the airspace as well as land and sea borders on March 23rd 2020.
“The government also issued a state of public health emergency on March 7th 2020, suspending all non-essential services among others,” she said.
Madam Touray said two weeks after lifting the state of public emergency, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases spiked. She said the sudden surge in the number of new cases after the lifting of the state of public emergency appear to indicate that the previous measures were effective in containing the spread of the virus.
“This report extensively evaluated the effectiveness of crosscutting evidence-base intervention mechanisms that are critical in our continued fight against this deadly virus,” she said.
Foroyaa will publish the report (a study on knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) towards COVID-19 in the Gambia) presented to the Government of the Gambia in details.