Social Distancing: Only a quarter practised it
Only one out of four people practiced social distancing in the country in March and April, finds a study.
The study by the disease control unit of the Directorate General of Health Services also revealed that more than half (51.6 percent) of 1,549 people surveyed had appropriate knowledge on Covid-19 preventive measures.
Among those having appropriate knowledge, 52.1 percent used face masks.
Besides, 51.8 percent of them practiced hand washing, according to the study titled "Assessment of knowledge, attitudes and practices towards prevention of Covid-19 among Bangladeshi population".
Prof Shah Mahfuzur Rahman, assistant professor at the Institute of Public Health, presented the findings of the study at an event at the DGHS in the capital's Mohakhali yesterday.
A total of 1,549 people were interviewed in March and April for carrying out the survey using online, self-administered and face to face methods.
The disease control unit also conducted two more surveys among 384 university and medical college students and 604 health workers and staffers across the country. The surveys were carried out in June, July and August.
Prof Shahnila Ferdousi, director of the disease control unit, presented the findings of the surveys.
Among the 384 surveyed students, 72 percent had appropriate knowledge about Covid-19.
Less than one-third of them agreed that using hand sanitizer is the only way of ensuring hand hygiene while 55.4 percent believed that N-95 mask is the appropriate solution to prevent the spread of the virus.
Significantly, around a half of the 384 students did not know about the actual distance of maintaining social distancing, according to the study.
Besides, more than 8 percent students believed that smoking can "prevent" Covid-19.
Among the 604 healthcare professionals, more than 90 percent had appropriate knowledge about Covid-19 and its transmission.
However, more than half of them believed hand sanitizer is the only way to disinfect hands, found the study.
The DGHS survey report recommended that public awareness campaigns should be enhanced critically focusing the target population to cover knowledge gaps and motivate them to follow appropriate practices.
Speaking at the programme as chief guest, Prof ABM Khurshid Alam, acting director general of DGHS, thanked the study team.
Prof Shah Monir Hossen, former DG of the DGHS, said a reluctance to follow health hygiene rules among the people is more evident, because there is a lack of community engagement in fighting novel coronavirus. "We need to form volunteer teams in every community across the country to engage the community."
Prof Shahnila Ferdousi said, "We have tried to examine the effectiveness of our awareness campaigns among the people. This will help us make our future awareness campaigns more effective."
BRAC-PROTHOM ALO STUDY
Meanwhile, another study jointly conducted by Brac and Bangla daily Prothom Alo found that 61.10 percent people cannot maintain safe physical distancing in public spaces as others around them do not follow the rule.
Among the 320,781 respondents to the survey, 67.40 percent said wearing masks caused discomfort and heat stress, while 20.90 percent said it caused breathing difficulties.
The findings of the survey were revealed in a virtual media briefing yesterday.
Of the respondents, 72.60 percent viewed that regular hand-washing is beneficial, 6.10 percent said they simply can't remember to wash hands.
The survey was conducted from July 31 to August 18. It comprised 10 questions, five of which were on wearing masks, four on hand-washing and one on social distancing practices.