Effect of source of information on compliance of public health measures in response to Covid -19
Principal Investigators: Janet Langat and Esther Owelle
COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the 11th of March with the first case been reported in Kenya on 12th March 2020. Kenya has reported 47,843 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 884 deaths and 33,421 recoveries (as of 23rd October 2020). This study looks at the effect of source of information on compliance of public health measures in informal settlements. The study varies the source of information with the content of the message being similar across the two treatment groups. Treatment 1 will receive an audio recording of their community leader with public health measures to adhere to and treatment 2 messages on the laid out public health measures. Comparing health and compliance outcomes of these two groups with a control group will allow us to determine the causal impact of these interventions. This study will be conducted remotely through phone surveys.
In late March, Esther Owelle was interviewed about this research project by David Sasaki, Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation. You can watch the full interview here.
EGAP thanks the Hewlett Foundation for its generous support of research in the Global South through this initiative.
People living in informal settlements have a greater risk of being infected with COVID-19 due to public health concerns such as lack of basic needs such as water, housing, soap and difficulty in social distancing due to overcrowding. It is important for policy makers to understand the context of the environment in slum areas before they impose strategies to curb the virus. Prior understanding of this will also increase compliance of the public health measures since environmental and social factors will be put into consideration. This study seeks to assess the effect of source of information on compliance of public health practices in households in informal settlements in Nairobi and the effect of this on their health.
The survey tests various sources of information that participants trust and would like to receive information from, we ask the level of trust individuals have on the available COVID-19 vaccines and self-report on households food security status. We will ask participants to recall the content of the messages that they receive.
This study measures three outcomes:
Individuals measure of trust in various sources of information related to COVID-19.
Individuals trust on available COVID-19 vaccines.
Household food insecurity due to COVID-19. We will send participants audio recordings of a village elder, a nurse from the government and a local celebrity prior to calling them to conduct a survey.
We hypothesize that individuals that receive audios from their local celebrities and village elders are likely to trust information on COVID-19 from these groups with a small effect size between these two groups. We hypothesize that there’s little trust on the available vaccines with the effect size differing in the three groups. Participants receiving messages from a village elder and local celebrity will have higher retention levels of the messages.
Participants received audio messages from a nurse from the Ministry of health, village elder and a local celebrity (local artist) on a call to action to get vaccinated. We find that participants had more trust in the message they received from the nurse compared to the other two treatment groups.
There was a significant effect on the recall of the content of the message between the nurse treatment group and the local celebrity and village elders treatment group. There was however no significant effect on the recall of the message between the local celebrity and the village elder treatment group.
Participants who received a message from the nurse had the highest average recall rate on the recall of the delivery of the message compared to the other two treatment groups.
84% of the respondents in the study had not been vaccinated due to fear of side effects of the vaccine, lack of trust of the vaccine, unavailability of the vaccines.
The Covid 19 pandemic had a negative impact on the day to day lives at the time of the study.
Our results show that there’s need for credible sources of information to counter harmful misinformation which would in turn have a negative effect on people i.e myths on the effects of vaccines was among the reasons why people had not been vaccinated in the study.
Access the powerpoint slides from Esther Owelle’s presentation on the preliminary findings of the project here.