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Study: Only 50% of Pakistanis are aware of COVID-19 risk factors

Study: Only 50% of Pakistanis are aware of COVID-19 risk factors

Saad Ali Rana
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Only half of urban and rural Pakistanis are aware of the fact that diabetics, smokers and asthmatics are at a higher risk of falling severely ill from Covid-19, says a study recently carried out by the Aga Khan University 

Researchers surveyed 738 men and women across rural and urban Pakistan to assess knowledge about coronavirus symptoms, its mode of transmission and ways to protect oneself from the disease. While over 90 per cent of those surveyed knew that the elderly were at a relatively higher risk of complications from the disease, nearly half of respondents were unaware of other risk factors such as diabetes, smoking and asthma.

Inadequate knowledge about symptoms

Researchers also found an inadequate level of knowledge about symptoms of the disease. While the majority of respondents correctly recognised fever, coughing and a shortness of breath as signs of coronavirus, less than one in three respondents were aware of joint or muscle pain as being a symptom. Similarly, fewer than one in four of those surveyed knew that a person could be carrying the coronavirus without showing any signs or symptoms.

Misinformation

Researchers also found a widespread belief in the myth that coronavirus could be treated with existing medications. Even though there is no cure for the virus and only its symptoms can be treated, up to 60pc of urban Pakistanis incorrectly believed that pneumonia vaccines could protect them from the disease while 83pc of rural respondents asserted a myth that existing medicines can effectively treat the disease.

There is need for spreading awareness

Data from the study also highlights the need for more awareness of isolation practices. While nearly all respondents were aware that symptoms of the coronavirus last up to two weeks, only between 37pc and 64pc of those surveyed were aware that being in contact with someone with coronavirus must lead to a quarantine of up to 14 days.

On a more positive note, there was widespread awareness of the importance of hand washing, coughing into one’s elbow, and of maintaining distance from those who are coughing or sneezing.

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