Assessment of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge and Perceptions in Nigeria
This study assessed knowledge and perceptions about COVID-19 among the general public in Nigeria during the initial week of the pandemic lockdown in the country. From March 28 to April 4, 2020, this cross-sectional survey used an anonymous online questionnaire to collect data from respondents within Nigeria. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used to recruit 1357 respondents, aged 15-70 years, from 180 cities and towns within Nigeria. Study data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Approximately more than half (57.02%) of the respondents were male with high level of education (48.86% bachelor’s degree or higher). Approximately half of the respondents (46.94%) opined that COVID-19 was ―a biological weapon designed by the Chinese government.‖ About 94% of the respondents identified ―contact with airborne droplets via breathing, sneezing, or coughing‖ as the most common mode of transmission; most respondents associated COVID-19 with coughing (81.13%), shortness of breath (73.47%) and fever (62.79%). ―Regular hand washing and social distancing‖ was selected by most respondents (94.25%) as a way of preventing infection whereas 11.86% reported
―consuming gins, garlic, ginger, herbal mixtures and African foods/soups‖ as preventive measures against COVID-19. Majority of the respondents (91.73%) thought COVID-19 is deadly; and most respondents (84.3%) got 4 or more answers correctly. It was also observed that the traditional media (TV/Radio) are the most common source of health information about COVID-19 (93.5%). Findings revealed that Nigerians have relatively high knowledge, mostly derived from traditional media, about COVID-19. Their perceptions of COVID-19 bear implications across public health initiatives, compliance with precautionary behavior as well as bilateral relations with foreign nations. Evidence-based campaign should be intensified to remove misconceptions and promote precautionary measures.