ASPECTS OF EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDY OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC: PERCEPTION AND BELIEFS IN DELTA STATE
AbstractIt is a sad commentary that after several months of the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, there are still very scanty local data and information on the virus. As a result, the country still relies on foreign data and information. The purpose of this preliminary study is to investigate the perception and belief of the pandemic in Delta State of Nigeria a month after the first index case in the state. A questionnaire of 27 items was designed to represent five research questions (RQs). Both the hard and electronic copies of the questionnaire were randomly administered to residents in the state. The data collected were analyzed using simple percentages, bar and pie charts that are self-explanatory to make the results accessible and comprehensive to the general public. The results showed that many Deltans believed that the COVID-19 was real and not a product of the conspiracy theories. On the biological background of the disease, 89.3% of the respondents are conversant with the general clinical symptoms of COVID-19. Further, more of the respondents believed that both the elderly and people with health challenges were more likely to be killed by the virus. Remarkably, 70% of the respondents believe that the COVID-19 infection was preventable and curable and 60% of the respondents opined that Nigeria had the expertise to find a cure to the disease. However, 36.26% of the respondents opined that the response/handling of the pandemic by government and relevant agencies such as the NCDC is adequate while 50.5% of them have contrary view. Though many of the respondents believed that the closing of international borders, interstate land borders and obeying the government lockdown rules were responsible for the relatively low spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of the respondents (53.6%) did not believe that Deltans are committed to adhering to all the guidelines given by government during the easing of the lockdown. These findings on some aspects of epidemiological study have provided local information on the perception of COVID-19 pandemic in Delta State which is now in public domain for further discussion and possible adoption. We also provided a few recommendations which included the need to fill the gap in the local information and data in order to enhance the possibility of achieving efficacious local treatment of this disease.