Nairobi residents not afraid to contract Covid-19, study

Friday, July 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
City residents in their routine business along Moi Avenue in Nairobi. Photo/PD/Gerald Ithana

Irene Githinji @gitshee

A research by TIFA has established that Nairobi has the lowest level of anxiety towards contracting coronavirus in spite of   recording the highest number of positive cases nationally.

The study released yesterday indicatesd that only 52 per cent of Nairobi residents are afraid of contracting Covid-19, the lowest level of anxiety in the country.

According to the research, the highest level of anxiety was reported in Central at 72 per cent.

Mombasa region has the second lowest level of anxiety at 64 per cent while Rift Valley and Western are tied at third place with 65 per cent.

The level of anxiety in Nyanza stands at 67 per cent while North Eastern and Eastern recorded 68 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.

“About 65 per cent of the respondents sampled said they are very worried about contracting Coronavirus, with more women than men being anxious about getting the disease,” the report.

Of the total respondents, 69 per cent of the women confessed they are very worried of the disease compared to 61 per cent among men.

Almost half of the respondents, 46 percent, fear the worst is yet to come while 33 percent feel life is getting back to normal.

At least 92 per cent of Kenyans said they are not aware of a friend, relative or neighbour who has tested positive for Coronavirus disease with only 8 per cent saying they know at least a victim.

Recent travellers 

The research also shows that a majority would stigmatise recovered patients.

However, 77 per cent stated they would visit a recovered patient with the rest saying they would not. Another 41 per cent said they would not allow their children to play with those of coronavirus survivors.

The report indicates that when the first Covid-19 cases were reported in the country, stigma was directed towards people of Chinese origin, recent travelers, healthcare workers and emergency responders.

But as it spreads amongst Kenyans, the stigmatisation has spread towards people who have recovered from the disease, those that have been released from quarantine and their family members.

“The stigmatisation is worse for those whose close family members have died from the virus,” the survey found. 

Stigmatisation has also spread to the family of the deceased, with 37 per cent of the respondents saying they would not attend funeral of a close friend even if the number of mourners is less than 15 and social distancing is assured.

It also showed that effects of Coronavirus disease have seen increased cases of psychological stress.

“Effects of Coronavirus, such as loss of jobs and isolation have heightened stress levels among many people, worsening their mental and health well-being.

There have been reports of increased domestic violence and also people live fearfully due to the rise in insecurity in their neighborhoods during the pandemic period,” the report.

The survey was conducted between June 2 and 15, with a sample size of 843 respondents.

As far as psychological stress is concerned, 22 per cent said they feel nervous, anxious and on the edge, 21 per cent are irritable, depressed and hopeless while 19 per cent have trouble with sleep.

Lower propensity

On voluntary testing, the survey also established that 79 per cent are likely to go for it. 

Voluntary testing was significantly high among those aged 45 and above at 85 percent, followed by the age bracket of 35-44 at 82 per cent while 76 per cent of  those aged 18-24 said they would go for it.

The lowest likelihood for voluntary testing was reported at the age bracket of 25-34, with 72 per cent saying they would go for it. 

By region, Nairobi and Rift Valley had a slightly lower propensity to go for voluntary testing, recording 70 percent and 73 per cent respectively.

Eastern, Coast and Central had the highest likelihood for residents to take a voluntary test at 88 per cent, 84 percent and 79 percent respectively.

For those unlikely to take a test, 39 percent said it is uncomfortable and painful, 10 per cent said they fear being quarantined and another 8 per cent said they were afraid that neighbours and family would start avoiding them if they tested positive.

Asked what action they would take should they test positive, 31 percent said they would not self isolate while 55 percent said they would not share the news with family members.

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