T. Dahiru1, H. Bello-Manga2, K.L. Hamza1, Z.K. Muhammad-Idris3, A.M. Zakari4, O.T. Ayodeji5, S. Joseph6, A. Yahaya7, S.G. Ishaku8, J. Ejembi9, H. Sani2, E. Garry6, B. Mohammed6, D.S. Emmanuel10, P. Unung11, B. Tijjani12, Z.O. Tijani13, S. Kase14, H. Bello12, A.T. Usman12 and A. John12.
- Department of Community Medicine, Ahamdu Bello University, Zaria.
- Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Kaduna State University, Kaduna
- Department of Community Medicine, Kaduna State University, Kaduna
- Ministry of Health, Kaduna, Kaduna State
- Department of Radiology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
- Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Health, Kaduna State
- Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
- World Health Organization, Kaduna
- Department of Medical Microbiology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
- Health Secretary, Giwa LGHA, Kaduna State
- National Eye Center, Kaduna
- Kaduna State AIDS Control Agency, Kaduna
- Department of Family Medicine, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna
- Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Kaduna State University, Kaduna
Introduction: Kaduna State is among the three States with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge, risk perception and practices of staff towards prevention and control of COVID-19 infection in schools to provide policy makers, education and health managers required information to manage the epidemic as the schools prepare to re-open.
Methods: This was a school-based survey conducted using purposive sampling of 55 schools located in nine LGAs with the highest number of reported COVID19 cases as at October 2020. Five schools with the highest students’/pupils’ enrollment in each of the LGA were selected and all staff were interviewed. Information on knowledge, risk perception and practices of prevention was collected. Descriptive statistics were generated using Stata v14 software.
Results: A total of 1065 staff in 55 schools completed the interview. Major sources of information are television (73%), radio (61%), and social media (57%); and 76% indicated that a virus is the causative agent of COVID-19. Overall, 70%, 19%, 7%, 9.3% and 0% respectively had adequate knowledge of cause, preventive measures, respiratory hygiene, modes of transmission and symptoms of COVID-19; however only 14% ever attended a workshop on COVID-19. Eighty-two percent and 89% respectively believed in the efficacy of face masks and handwashing as means of prevention; 39% thought that they are likely to contract COVID-19. Ninety-nine percent and 90% have ever used face mask and hand sanitizer to prevent COVID-19; 96% and 85% respectively have use these methods in previous 24hours. Between 42% and 73% of schools needed additional commodities/ requirements/supplies to comply fully with COVID19 prevention protocols.
Conclusion: While knowledge of COVID-19 is suboptimal, perception is positive and practice is high. Thus, teachers need to be well informed and encouraged to sustain current levels of preventive measures. Government needs to provide schools with adequate preventive commodities to ensure compliance.
Keywords: COVID-19, Knowledge, Perception, Prevention, Staff School, Kaduna
Prof. Tukur Dahiru
Dept. of Community Medicine,
Ahamdu Bello University,
Human infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19 disease was declared a pandemic and has remained a global public health emergency reaching virtually every country and territory of the world.1 The pandemic began sometime in late December of 2019, from Wuhan in Hubei province of China and it rapidly dispersed to other parts of China. By February 2020, the virus reached the African continent when the first case was reported in Egypt, and the first suspected case in Nigeria was reported on February 27 in Lagos. As at June 10, 2021, Nigeria has tested 2,180,444 samples out of which 166,982 confirmed cases and 2117 deaths. In Kaduna State, there are 9103 confirmed cases with 65 deaths. 2
To respond to this epidemic, the government instituted control measures with establishment of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) to coordinate all the response activity of the country. Various specific measures were implemented at different times by the PTF and respective State Governments. These included the travel restriction within the country and with the outside world that began early, case identification, contact tracing and isolation, handwashing and hand hygiene, use of face masks, and several social distancing and stay-at-home measures with, in some cases, lockdowns of exceedingly high-risk areas which later involved large parts of the country as announced by various state governments. Additionally, all religious, social and cultural gatherings were banned; official government services and activities were also suspended indefinitely except essential services such medical, security and transportation of essential goods.3 By the middle of March 2020, it is estimated that 107 countries had implemented national school closures related to COVID-19, affecting 862 million children and young people, roughly half the global student population.4-7 In Kaduna State, the school closure due to COVID-19 pandemic affected 2,450,547 school pupils/students.
Recent literature has argued both for and against reopening of educational institutions in the midst of surging COVID-19 cases across the globe 4, 7, 8-13. While the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a guideline on school re-opening, this document is not based on locally-generated empirical data. Therefore, in view of scarce information and pressure on countries to consider re-opening schools in the context of COVID-19 pandemic, there is the urgent need to conduct a research, albeit rapid to guide policy makers on course actions for school to re-open. The Kaduna State Government was quick to impose several restrictions on all forms of gatherings early during the pandemic: schools, markets, churches and mosques were closed indefinitely. However, after 6- 7months of schools’ closure, schools were re-opened in a step-wise manner between October and November while strictly complying with COVID-19 prevention protocols such as temperature check at entrance for all staff and students/pupils, compulsory wearing of face masks, handwashing with soap and water and/or regular use of hand sanitizer as well as all other guidelines against COVID-19 infection as stated by the NCDC and the Kaduna State COVID19 Task Force 14.
As the pandemic soars in Nigeria in general and Kaduna State in particular, and with mounting pressure from parents and students to re-open schools, there is urgent need to assess the readiness and willingness of school teachers, school administrators, parents and students alike towards re-opening schools. This readiness is in terms of knowledge, risk perception and practices of staff towards prevention and control of COVID-19 as well as what needed to be provided by the schools to implement COVID-19 prevention protocol such as availability of hand sanitizers, face masks, adequate water supply and hand washing equipment. Across the world, it has been documented that pupils and students alike have suffered psychologically from lock-down including sexual violence such as rape or attempted rape and domestic violence beside loosing vital period of their education due to the COVID-19 lockdown 15, 16. Parents are equally overwhelmed by increased household chores from continuous presence of children at home. Thus, the need to guide policy-makers on strategies/options available for school resumption necessitated the conduct of this study.