Paediatrics and Child Health
Background: The ongoing global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first reported in South Asia on 30th January 2020 in India. Ever since, certain countries have witnessed multiple waves of COVID-19, requiring attention by public health experts and strategists in the region. The objectives of this study are to assess social contributors to the recurrent waves of COVID-19 in South Asia including first demographic traits, second household characteristics and social measures, third workplace trends and personal protective equipment use, and fourth satisfaction and attitudes concerning public health measures and vaccination status. The study also aims to plan for control strategies focusing on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, countries with the highest burden of COVID-19 in South Asia.
Methods: A population-based large cross-sectional study was conducted from 1st July to August 10th, 2021 using online mediums. The survey consisted of 31 questions divided into sociodemographic and COVID-19 status information, household characteristics and social measures, workplace trends and personal protective measures, satisfaction and attitudes towards public health measures, and vaccination status. Bivariate, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, and the Kruskal Wallis test was conducted for factors associated to COVID-19 infection and positive vaccination status.
Findings: We enrolled 1046 participants with 57.1% females and 41.8% males, comprising 48.9% healthcare workers. Statistically significant associations were found using ANOVA based on the Kruskal-Wallis test for differences between thoughts towards public health authorities implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and HCW status were statistically significant (P = 0.002). The most important social predictors for positive vaccination status based on the ROC analysis were gender (P < 0.001), job role (P < 0.001), income group (P < 0.001), healthcare worker status (P < 0.001), household member tested positive (P = 0.007), personal vehicle ownership (P < 0.001), job requiring close contacts (P < 0.001) and co-worker masking habits (P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Public health experts and strategists are required to focus control strategies on political and religious gatherings, reopening offices, noncompliance of SOPs by the masses, and crowded commuting to limit the reemergence of COVID-19 infections in countries with the highest burden in the region.
Annals of Medicine and Surgery
(2022). Social contributors for the rise of COVID-19 infections in South Asia: A large cross-sectional survey. Annals of Medicine and Surgery, 80.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_women_childhealth_paediatr/1226
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