Risk perception, public health interventions, and Covid-19 pandemic control in sub-saharan Africa
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) has had serious social, economic, and health effects globally. The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV- 2), which was first announced in December 2019 has resulted in more than 24 million infections. There is paucity of knowledge on the role of risk perception in the adoption of public health interventions needed to control the spread of COVID 19 infections within communities. This was a scoping review and documents how risk perception may be a major challenge for populations to adopt and implement different behavioral changes recommended to curtail the spread COVID- 19 pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa; and seeks to proffer solutions on how the identified challenges can be addressed drawing from lessons learnt from previous epidemics within the region. Database search of Google Scholar, PubMed, Research Gate among others were performed using related keywords to identify relevant journals and lists of primary articles. Culture, religious beliefs and poverty may influence how populations respond to infectious disease outbreaks. Risk strategies that focus only on biomedical approaches to control the COVID-19 pandemic may not mobilize the needed behavioral change. Lessons learnt from HIV and Ebola epidemics showed that involvement of communities could help transform weak adoption of public health measures when measures were framed in the relevant cultural context. An understanding of the factors influencing risk perception is needed to design appropriate risk communication strategies. Community engagement and reliance on local communication networks could promote mutual trust and increase the uptake of public-health interventions.
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