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Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(3)2021 Mar 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143623


Background-misinformation and mistrust often undermines community vaccine uptake, yet information in rural communities, especially of developing countries, is scarce. This study aimed to identify major challenges associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine clinical trials among healthcare workers and staff in Uganda. Methods-a rapid exploratory survey was conducted over 5 weeks among 260 respondents (66% male) from healthcare centers across the country using an online questionnaire. Twenty-seven questions assessed knowledge, confidence, and trust scores on COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials from participants in 46 districts in Uganda. Results-we found low levels of knowledge (i.e., confusing COVID-19 with Ebola) with males being more informed than females (OR = 1.5, 95% CI: 0.7-3.0), and mistrust associated with policy decisions to promote herbal treatments in Uganda and the rushed international clinical trials, highlighting challenges for the upcoming Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccinations. Knowledge, confidence and trust scores were higher among the least educated (certificate vs. bachelor degree holders). We also found a high level of skepticism and possible community resistance to DNA recombinant vaccines, such as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Preference for herbal treatments (38/260; 14.6%, 95% CI: 10.7-19.3) currently being promoted by the Ugandan government raises major policy concerns. High fear and mistrust for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials was more common among wealthier participants and more affluent regions of the country. Conclusion-our study found that knowledge, confidence, and trust in COVID-19 vaccines was low among healthcare workers in Uganda, especially those with higher wealth and educational status. There is a need to increase transparency and inclusive participation to address these issues before new trials of COVID-19 vaccines are initiated.

Front Public Health ; 8: 416, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-732824


Background: Transmission of COVID-19 in developing countries is expected to surpass that in developed countries; however, information on community perceptions of this new disease is scarce. The aim of the study was to identify possible misconceptions among males and females toward COVID-19 in Uganda using a rapid online survey distributed via social media. Methods: A cross-sectional survey carried out in early April 2020 was conducted with 161 Ugandans, who purposively participated in the online questionnaire that assessed understandings of COVID-19 risk and infection. Sixty-four percent of respondents were male and 36% were female. Results: We found significant divergences of opinion on gendered susceptibility to COVID-19. Most female respondents considered infection risk, symptoms, severe signs, and death to be equally distributed between genders. In contrast, male respondents believed they were more at risk of infection, severe symptoms, severe signs, and death (52.7 vs. 30.6%, RR = 1.79, 95% CI: 1.14-2.8). Most women did not share this perception and disagreed that males were at higher risk of infection (by a factor of three), symptoms (79% disagree), severe signs (71%, disagree), and death (70.2% disagree). Overall, most respondents considered children less vulnerable (OR = 1.12, 95% CI: 0.55-2.2) to COVID-19 than adults, that children present with less symptoms (OR = 1.57, 95% CI: 0.77-3.19), and that there would be less mortality in children (OR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.41-1.88). Of female respondents, 76.4% considered mortality from COVID-19 to be different between the young and the elderly (RR = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.01-2.92) and 92.7% believed young adults would show fewer signs than the elderly, and 71.4% agreed that elderly COVID-19 patients would show more severe signs than the young (OR = 2.2, 95% CI: 1.4, 4.8). While respondents considered that all races were susceptible to the signs and symptoms of infection as well as death from COVID-19, they considered mortality would be highest among white people from Europe and the USA. Some respondents (mostly male 33/102, 32.4%) considered COVID-19 to be a "disease of whites" (30.2%). Conclusion: The WHO has identified women and children in rural communities as vulnerable persons who should be given more attention in the COVID-19 national response programs across Africa; however, our study has found that men in Uganda perceive themselves to be at greater risk and that these contradictory perceptions (including the association of COVID-19 with "the white" race) suggest an important discrepancy in the communication of who is most vulnerable and why. Further research is urgently needed to validate and expand the results of this small exploratory study.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Risk Assessment , Adolescent , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Europe , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Surveys and Questionnaires , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
Health Serv Insights ; 13: 1178632920944167, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-711561


BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization has placed a lot of attention on vulnerable communities of Africa due to their chronically weak health care systems. Recent findings from Uganda show that medical staff members have sufficient knowledge but poor attitudes toward coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. AIM: The aim of this study was to determine the knowledge, attitudes, and preparedness/practices of lecturers and students in the fight against COVID-19. METHOD: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study of 103 lecturers and students both men and women of age group 18 to 69 years in western Uganda. Data were obtained through a pretested questionnaire availed online. RESULTS: Knowledge on COVID-19 symptoms was highest in this order: fever > dry cough > difficulty breathing > fatigue > headache with no significant differences between lecturers and students. Knowledge of participants on transmission of COVID-19 was highest in the order of cough drops > contaminated surfaces > person-to-person contact > asymptomatic persons > airborne > zoonotic with no significant differences among lecturers and students. Lecturers and students were all willing to continue using personal protective equipment like masks, and personal practices such as covering the mouth while sneezing and coughing, no handshaking, and washing of hands with no significant differences in the responses. The positive attitudes that COVID-19 could kill, anyone can get COVID-19, and willing to abide by the set regulations against the pandemic showed personal concerns and desired efforts against COVID-19. CONCLUSION: The study identifies lecturers and students as potential stakeholders in the fight against community transmission of COVID-19.