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COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices
among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
*1Chiamaka Obiageli Enendu, 2Samuel Wodi Jimba
1Postgraduate Student, Department of Media Arts, University of Abuja, Nigeria
2Senior Lecturer, Department of Library and Information Science, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria
The Coronavirus pandemic is presently the topic of discussion among various segments of global
society. From the developed North to the developing South, within economically poor and rich
countries, the huge rates of infection and resulting deaths from the pandemic has surpassed
anything seen for a long time. Health systems and economies in both developed and developing
countries are challenged in ways never imagined. The global efforts to mitigate the effects of the
pandemic are moving at a very fast pace. Public health information is one of the strategies being
used to ensure that persons are knowledgeable about the pandemic and adopt practices and
protocols that will stem infections within the community. This study was undertaken to gauge the
knowledge levels of journalists in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja and the impact of the
knowledge on their attitudes and practices. The knowledge, attitudes and practice study model
were used to gauge the interrelatedness of these variables among the study group. Logit
regression tests, t-tests, chi-square and descriptive analysis were used to determine knowledge
levels as well as what factors influenced attitudes and practices towards COVID-19 within the
group. Overall, knowledge level amongst the study group was good and had a positive impact on
attitude patterns. However, there was no high positive correlation between knowledge and
practices. It is suggested that journalists in Nigeria must adhere to public health protocols in
order to be able to engage in multi-platform public health information awareness publications
which will sensitize the public into observing the COVID containment protocols.
Keywords: COVID-19; Knowledge; Attitudes; Practices; Journalists; Public Health Information; Nigeria
INTRODUCTION
The entire universe is presently gripped with discussions
and concerns about the novel virus called Coronavirus.
Due to its geographical spread, effects and huge mortality
rates, governments, institutions and individuals around the
world are taking unprecedented measures to contain its
further spread within the populace. Some of the
developing measures (as of the time of writing) include
travel bans, total lockdown of cities and countries, human
to human contact limitations, as well as a robust public
health information and awareness strategy.
In December 2019, first reports emerged of a strange
illness that was causing mortalities in the Chinese region
of Wuhan. The disease, as later reported, was caused by
a new strain of Coronavirus which generally affects the
upper and lower respiratory tract. Most of the reported first
cases of infected persons, according to the Wuhan
Municipal Health Commission (WMHC) had a history of
exposure to wildlife animals at the Huanan Seafood
Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China. This market is noted
for selling poultry, snakes, bats, and other farm animals
and is suspected to be where transmissions first started
(Cheng and Shan, 2020). Initial suspicion was that
transmission occurred from animals to humans, but as the
spread of the disease widened, human to human
transmission was confirmed (Chan, J. et al. 2020). As at
23rd July 2020, the World Health Organization reported
that there were 15,012,731 cases of COVID-19 globally
with 642,387 of these in Africa. On the same date, there
was reported to have been 619,150 mortalities globally
with 10,789 in Africa.
*Corresponding Author: Chiamaka Obiageli Enendu,
Department of Media Arts, University of Abuja, Nigeria.
Email: chiamakaenendu@gmail.com
Co-Author 2
Email: sjimba@nsuk.edu.ng
Review Article
Vol. 6(1), pp. 084-96, July, 2020. © www.premierpublishers.org, ISSN: 2143-2686
International Journal of Journalism and Mass Communication
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Enendu and Jimba 85
Consequent on concerns from individuals and
governments, the World Health Organization (WHO) on
February 11, 2020 officially designated the novel virus as
a pandemic and renamed it "Covid-19" (Deng, 2020). The
idea was to stem what had become the rising tide of
Chinese stigmatization - ("Co" stands for "corona", "vi" for
virus and "d" for disease. Also "19" stands for the year the
virus was first identified).
The scientific information on Covid-19 is still developing as
at the time of writing. However, according to Dawood
(2020), it is known to belong to the family group of
Coronaviridae that cause illnesses ranging from the
common cold to other more severe diseases similar in the
nature to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS
CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS
CoV).
Generally, this virus presents as a pneumonia-like disease
that attacks the human respiratory system, but it has
recently been discovered that some persons infected with
the disease are asymptomatic. For the others who show
symptoms from the infection, the major presentations of
the disease are fever, cough and shortness of breath
(Zhong, et al: 2020). These can occur within two to
fourteen days after exposure (US-CDC and WHO, 2020).
Additionally, the World Health Organization reports that
the time between symptom onset and death ranges from 2
to 8 weeks. Available public information also indicates that
some people are at a higher risk of getting very sick from
the virus. These include older adults; persons with chronic
medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung
diseases (WHO, 2020).
The disease is spread when an uninfected person inhales
droplets of cough or sneeze from persons who are infected
or when they touch contaminated surfaces prior to
touching their eyes, noses or mouth. The World Health
Organization in its COVID-19 situation report No. 73
(2020) postulates that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted
from both symptomatic and asymptomatic persons to
others who are in close contact through respiratory
droplets, by direct contact with infected persons, or by
contact with contaminated objects and surfaces. Due to
the high risk of person to person infection, most health
institutions have warned against crowding and advised
social distancing.
In Nigeria, according to the Nigerian Center for Disease
Control (NCDC), the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed
on 27th February 2020 (https://ncdc.gov.ng/news/227/first-
case-of-corona-virus-disease-confirmed-in-nigeria). This
index case was the first to be reported in Nigeria since the
beginning of the outbreak in China. It was of an Italian
citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy
to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020. Since this
index case, the number of infections has grown to 38,948
with 833 mortalities as at 23rd July, 2020.
As in other countries and climes, the Nigerian healthcare
system was sadly unprepared for the pandemic. When the
index case was announced, Nigeria had only two
molecular test laboratories located in Lagos and Abuja. In
the same vein, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control
(NCDC) publicly declared the lack of adequate testing kits,
personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as lack of
adequate ventilators for the infected. At the
commencement of containment measures, one of the
isolation and treatment centres in the capital city of Abuja
– University of Abuja Teaching Hospital – had less than
ten functional ventilators. The unavailability of isolation
centers for the management and treatment of the disease
also posed a serious challenge as there was only the
Infectious Diseases Hospital Yaba, Lagos equipped and
available for a population that is approaching 200 million
persons.
In order to mitigate and contain the spread of the disease
therefore, various public health information approaches
had to be deployed to pass factual information to the
populace. Governments and health institutions in the
country adopted the strategy of public information because
of the general belief that information plays a vital role in
influencing attitudes that are responsible for mitigating the
spread of the virus (Lima, 2020).
The types of information disseminated by the Nigerian
National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the Federal
and State Ministries of Health and Information, as well as
other relevant government institutions include, but are not
limited to measures on how to avoid infection and/or
spread of the disease and the steps to take if anyone has
identified symptoms of the disease. Specifically, it was
required that people must regularly wash their hands
under running water; use alcohol-based hand sanitizers;
wear face masks when outside their homes; keep social
distance and avoid unnecessary touch of the eyes, nose
and mouth. It was also advised that once a person shows
the symptoms of fever, cough and breathlessness, they
should report to the nearest health facility.
Amongst the public information platforms deployed to pass
this information to the public are traditional and new media
channels. Traditional media channels include adverts and
jingles on television and radio, roadside billboards,
newspaper adverts, as well as flyers and pamphlets
normally distributed in public places. New media channels
(or what is now generally referred to social media) have
also been used as strategy for conveying information to
the public. The platforms in use include official and verified
Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube
pages. The intent of using media to pass public health
information on the COVID-19 is primarily to change
attitudes and behavior and in the long run, to contain the
disease. According to Hussain (2020) social media like
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp and
YouTube are major sources for spreading information and
news about the pandemic and these can play positive roles
in containing the COVID-19 by promoting effective
strategies to deal with the disease protocols.
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 86
The KAP Study Model
Most public and private institutions, including
governments, have realized the essentiality of information
in determining actions and attitudes. In this respect, once
an issue of public concern occurs, information is always
passed to the public to advise individuals to behave in a
predetermined way (Bansal, 2003; Karim, 2011).
The Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) study
model has been designed and used severally to study the
effects of knowledge on attitudes and behavior. According
to You and Han (2020), the KAP survey model is a
representative tool used for a specific population to collect
information on what is known, believed, and done
concerning a specific subject.
The World Health Organization (WHO, 2014) Working
Group on Monitoring and Evaluation issued a working
paper on KAP in which it defined the purposes of a KAP
study as:
 To identify knowledge gaps, cultural beliefs, and
behavioral patterns that may identify needs, problems,
and barriers to help plan and implement interventions.
 To deepen the understanding of commonly known
information, attitudes, and factors that influence
behavior.
 To generate baseline levels and measure changes
that result from interventions.
 To assess and identify communications processes
and sources important for program implementation
and effectiveness.
 To help set program priorities and make program
decisions.
Explaining further, Chien-Yun, et al (2012) postulated that
within the KAP model, knowledge affects attitude and
practice directly, and attitude will also directly affect actual
practice or intentions. Bano et al, (2013) explained the
concepts in the KAP model as follows (see Figure 1):
Knowledge is the capacity to acquire, retain and use
information; a mixture of comprehension, experience,
discernment and skill.
Attitude refers to inclinations to react in a certain way to
certain situations; to see and interpret events
according to certain predispositions; or to organize
opinions into coherent and interrelated structure.
Practice means the application of rules and knowledge
that leads to action. A good practice is an art that is
linked to the progress of knowledge and technology
and is executed ethically.
Figure 1 - The Knowledge-Attitude-Practice Model
(Source: Bano, et al., 2013. Pg35)
Studies in Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices
There is a huge body of research that has been
undertaken to determine the interrelatedness of
information, knowledge and behavior during the outbreak
of an infectious disease. Diallo et al (2019) studied
knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding Ebola Virus
Disease (EVD) among students at a School of Medicine in
Dakar, Senegal. They found that about 70% of medical
students had a good knowledge of the main modes of
transmission of Ebola. According to them, “this is a positive
point because the mastering of this information should
guarantee a reduction in the risk of transmission of Ebola”.
Relating the knowledge to attitudes and practice, the study
revealed that the main measures to prevent Ebola (avoid
all contact with a person with EVD, avoid direct contact
with the blood of an infected person or other body fluids,
systematic hand washing, avoidance of bushmeat
consumption) were known by more than 90% of students.
A similar study on EVD was conducted by Mbuk and
Umoh, (2016) in some Nigerian military barracks. They
found out that majority of the sampled population had a
good knowledge of the Ebola virus disease, the mode of
transmission and preventive measures. Some of the
generally held perceptions that Ebola can be spread
through mosquito bites, traditional herbs and antibiotics
can be used for prevention were not however consistent
with acceptable scientific beliefs. Furthermore, they
postulated that such good knowledge impacted on the
attitudes of the respondents as many of them agreed to
seek prompt medical attention when sick or take their sick
dependents to the hospital when symptoms are noticed.
Another virus that has remained endemic for some time is
the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS
(acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Quite a few
studies have been conducted on how knowledge of its
presentation in humans affects attitudes. Maimaiti, N., et.
al (2010) did a study among university students in Xinjiang,
China and reported that in general students in Xinjiang had
a relatively high level of knowledge on issues related to
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Enendu and Jimba 87
HIV/AIDS transmission. However, only a third (33.8%) of
the students had a positive attitude towards patients with
HIV/AIDS. They explained this by stating that although
students had good knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS, they
still harbor a negative attitude towards HIV/AIDS and
HIV/AIDS patients. Furthermore, knowledge alone is not
enough to change attitudes towards people having
HIV/AIDS, but deep-seated social and cultural factors such
as religion, attitude towards ill-health and risk behaviors
especially sexual behaviors can affect attitudes too.
Mekonnen, Behailu and Wakgari (2018) studied
knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding HIV/AIDS
among people with disabilities in Hawassa City, Southern
Ethiopia. They concluded that among disabled people,
knowledge had a significant effect on favourable attitudes
towards HIV/AIDS even though there remained much
room for improvement.
Another study examined the knowledge, attitudes and
practices related to HIV/AIDS prevention among
Zimbabwean university students (Terry, P., et. al, 2006).
Overall, the study found out that the sexual attitudes and
practices of young men and women who participated in an
instruction programme were changing as a result of the
knowledge gained about the disease, but that progress in
some areas does not assure progress in all areas.
Concerning COVID-19, a few studies have appeared in the
literature indicating a global interest in understanding
human behavior and attitudes during the pendency of the
pandemic. Zhong, Luo et al (2020) undertook a study on
the knowledge, attitudes, and practices towards COVID-
19 among Chinese residents during the rapid rise period
of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. They found out that
the COVID-19 knowledge score was significantly
associated with a lower likelihood of negative attitudes and
preventive practices towards COVID-19. Furthermore,
most Chinese residents of a relatively high socioeconomic
status, in particular women, showed an appreciable level
of knowledge about COVID-19 and therefore hold
optimistic attitudes and appropriate practices towards
COVID-19.
In the United States, a study of the awareness and
perceptions of COVID-19 was carried out by RTI
International (https://www.rti.org/coronavirus-united-
states-survey) in February 2020. Results from the survey
indicated that while 86 percent of respondents had seen,
read, or heard about COVID-19, overall results showed
there were deficits in respondents’ knowledge. One-third
of respondents incorrectly believed that most people
infected with the COVID-19 will die from it, while 59
percent knew that most people who are infected recover
from it. Concerning behavior, more than 80 percent of
respondents supported actions (e.g. mandatory
quarantine, school closures and lockdowns) taken by the
government to slow down the spread of the virus. A similar
number of respondents were also willing to adjust personal
life practices by skipping mass gatherings such as
concerts, festivals and sporting activities, as well as skip
community places like churches, restaurants and parks.
Reuben, et al. (2020) studied the Knowledge, Attitudes
and Practices towards COVID-19 in North-Central Nigeria.
Their findings suggest that Nigerians generally have a
good level of knowledge on COVID-19 with a positive
attitude and compliance with the necessary protocols
outlined by the government. In the same study, the authors
found out that despite their demerits, social media and the
internet contributed significantly to the acquisition of the
needed knowledge towards COVID-19.
Another study by Taiwo, Idowu and Salaudeen, Fatimah
(2020) undertook a population-based survey to measure
the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices towards COVID-
19 in Nigeria. The findings of the study showed that the
Nigerian population demonstrated good knowledge,
positive attitudes, and considerable practice towards the
COVID-19 pandemic.
Objectives
The objectives of the study are to:
i. Find out if journalists working in Abuja, Nigeria had a
good knowledge base towards COVID-19;
ii. Find out if any demographic variable among the
journalists has any correlation with their knowledge,
attitudes and practices;
iii. To investigate if there is any correlation between the
knowledge variable and attitudes and practices among
the study group.
Study Methodology
The population for this study is made up of practicing
journalists who work in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja
and its environs. The underlying assumption for choosing
this group is that as professionals who are daily involved
in the processing and disseminating COVID-19
information, they are expected to know much about the
COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, it is assumed that this
knowledge will positively impact on their attitudes and
practices.
Abuja, being the capital city of Nigeria hosts journalists
from the most important media houses in Nigeria. This
group of journalists is what might be referred to as “media
influencers”. They report from the most important sectors
of the Nigerian polity. The specific number of journalists
residing in and around Abuja is presently unknown due to
the fact that the journalists’ union does not keep a regular
list as well as the fact that some of them are independent
bloggers. In this respect, an estimate of 150 was used for
the study.
In order to manage the study and due to paucity of funds,
fifty journalists were randomly selected from the entire
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 88
population for the study. The journalists who were selected
cut across those working in traditional and new (social)
media platforms. The survey instrument was mailed to
them by email at the end of March 2020 and they were
expected to respond to the questionnaire by the end of the
first week of April 2020. At the end of the response period,
thirty of the fifty respondents had answered and returned
the questionnaire, giving a response rate of sixty percent.
The Study Instrument
To key into the emerging body of research on knowledge
and attitudes towards COVID-19, this study used a slightly
modified version of a questionnaire from the research
undertaken by Zhong, Luo, Li, et al (2020). The
modification was only to add demographic variables and
adjust the questions to suit local peculiarities. Since the
source questionnaire in Zhong (2020) had already being
validated, it was considered not necessary to revalidate
the instrument for this present study as it didn’t significantly
alter it. The instrument finally contained 22 items (see
Table 1) that captured demographics, knowledge levels,
attitudes and practices among the study population. Using
personal knowledge of the journalism practitioners in the
study environment, the questionnaire was administered
over ten days from the end of March to early April 2020.
The first questions (D1-D5) in the instrument consisted of
demographic variables – age, gender, marital status,
educational level and years of practice as a journalist. The
next set of questions (K1-K12) sought to know the
knowledge levels of the respondents while the next set of
questions (A1-A2) was purely attitudinal. Finally, the
instrument sought to elicit the personal practices of
respondents about avoidance of COVID-19(questions P1-
P3).
RESULTS
Among the respondents who participated in the survey, the
mean age was 37. There were 20 females and 10 males
while the mean number of years spent as a practicing
journalist was 9 (see Table 2).
Results of the effect/impact of demographic variables on
practices towards COVID-19 are presented in Table 3.
Logit regression was run using five explanatory variables
to determine what factors influences the practices towards
COVID-19 within the study group. The log-likelihood value
is -15.893406; and the associated Chi-square value (7.43)
is statistically significant 10% level of probability. This
implies that the model can be relied upon to explain the
probability of practices towards COVID-19 in the study
group.
The result shows that only the odd ratios of journalists age
(-.4932106) was negative and statistically significant
(p≤0.05). Since the age is negative and significant at 5%,
it implies that additional increase in age can decrease the
probability of wearing masks when leaving home while
holding other variables constant. This finding implies that
younger people use face mask more when leaving home.
With respect to the other demographic variables, Logit
regression was run on the variables to determine what
factors influences the practices towards COVID-19 in the
study group. The log likelihood value is -6.883382; and the
associated Chi-square value (9.56) is statistically
significant at 10% level of probability. This implies that the
model can be relied upon to explain probability of practices
towards COVID-19 (the practices of washing hands
always with soap and running water) in the study area. The
result shows that only the odd ratio of age of journalists
(.0969866) was positive and statistically significant
(p≤0.05) to the journalists practices towards COVID-19
(the practices of washing hands always with soap and
running water). Age is positive and significant at 5%
implies that additional increase in age could likely increase
the journalists’ probability of their practices towards
COVID-19; that is the practices of washing their hands
always with soap and running water to manage the
pandemic in the study area while holding other variables
constant. The results further indicated that the remaining
variables are not statistically significant, indicating that the
variables are unlikely to substantially influence practices
towards COVID-19 in the study area. (see Table 4)
Similarly, the journalist’s year of experience in practice
was positive (.3313793) and statistically significant at 5%
level of probability to their practices towards COVID-19.
This implies that increase in years of experience in
journalism may likely increase their probability of wearing
masks while leaving home as well as in their knowledge of
the pandemic. This may be because they have
experienced other outbreaks of pandemics in the course
of their professional practice. The results further showed
that the remaining variables were not statistically
significant, indicating that the variables are unlikely to
substantially influence practices towards COVID-19 in the
study group.
The study also sought to correlate knowledge and
attitudes within the study group (see Table 5). It is
important to point out that some variables, e.g. K6 returned
100% false answer among the study group, as well as K10,
K11 and K12 all returning a 100% True response.
Knowledge variable K.4 (Not all persons with COVID-19
will develop to severe cases. Only those who are elderly,
have chronic illnesses, and are obese are more likely to be
severe cases) is directly related to attitude variable A.1 (Do
you agree that COVID-19 will finally be successfully
controlled?) at 10%. This implies that increasing the
knowledge variable also increases the agreement level on
the control of COVID-19.
Knowledge variable K.5 (Eating bush meat or contacting
pets such as dogs and cats would result in infection by the
COVID-19 virus) is inversely related to attitude variable
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Enendu and Jimba 89
A.2 (Do you have confidence that Nigeria can win the
battle against COVID-19 Virus) at 1%. The two variables
have a negative and significant relationship at 1%. This
implies that as the knowledge variable increase the
confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID-
19 Virus decreases.
Knowledge variable K.7 (The COVID-19 virus spreads via
respiratory droplets of infected individuals) is directly
related to attitude variable A.2 (Do you have confidence
that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID-19 Virus) at
1%. The two variables have a positive and significant
relationship at 1%, signifying that as knowledge variable
increases the confidence that Nigeria can win the battle
against COVID-19 Virus also increases.
Knowledge variable K.9 (Children and young adults do not
need to take measures to prevent the infection by COVID-
19 virus) is inversely related to attitude variable A.2 (Do
you have the confidence that Nigeria can win the battle
against COVID-19 Virus) at 10%. The two variables have
a negative and significant relationship at 10%, implying
that an increase in the knowledge variable decreases the
confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID-
19 Virus.
The study sought to correlate the knowledge of the
respondents to their attitudes towards COVID-19 (Table
6). A majority (96.7%) of the respondents agreed that
COVID-19 will eventually be controlled successfully. This
implies that in spite of the current challenges in mitigating
the spread of the virus, the journalists have a positive
attitude that current global efforts towards finding a cure or
vaccine for the pandemic will succeed. Nationally, the
respondents showed a confidence level of 93.3% that
Nigeria can win the battle against COVID-19. This means
the study group have positive attitude towards eventually
winning the battle against COVID-19.
In relation to the respondents’ practices towards the
mitigation of COVID-19, Table 7 indicates that a majority
(96.7%) of the respondents displayed practices that do not
align with their knowledge of how the virus is spread.
Almost all of them have gone to a crowded place like a
Church or Mosque. The implication is that the journalists
have negative or poor management practice towards the
spread of COVID-19.
One of the control protocols advised by medical personnel
worldwide is the wearing of masks to avoid inhaling human
droplets. Many of our respondents (53.3%) reported that
they did not wear a mask when leaving their homes.
However, a slight majority (53.3%) believed that wearing
medical masks can prevent infection. This also shows poor
practices among the study group toward COVID-19.
DISCUSSION
The study set out to find out the knowledge level of
journalists in Abuja on COVID-19 and if any demographic
variables would impact on their knowledge, attitudes and
practices. It was necessary to undertake this study
because the World Health Organization has advised all
countries to take actions to mitigate the infection levels of
the pandemic. Countries have therefore instituted
protocols to guide behavior away from infection (Saqlain
M. et al, 2020). To achieve this objective, the response of
governments needs to be passed to the population
through various media (Shrestha, R et al, 2020) which was
the objective of this study.
Among the study population, there was a good knowledge
of the issues surrounding COVID-19. Respondents’
average score on knowledge was 87.61% which showed
a good knowledge of the causes, management and
prevention of the pandemic. This is slightly lower but not
significantly different from the 90% knowledge level
attained in the Chinese study by Zhong, 2020. This may
be attributable to the fact that many of the respondents
were individuals who worked in the media space and who
can be said to have good exposure to a plethora of
information sources which they then pass to the reading
public.
Due to the fact that the pandemic is relatively new, a good
knowledge of its basic characteristics, signs and
symptoms, possible transmission pathways, origin and
evolution, as well as its chemotherapeutic options is
important (Deng, 2020). Since the knowledge value was
positive in the study it is plausible to assume that
journalists in Abuja are most likely going to present factual
information to their readers/listeners which will counter a
lot of the misinformation available in the public space.
Personal attitudes to the pandemic including its prevention
protocols and long term capacity to eradicate it were also
measured in the study. On the two attitudinal questions,
there was a high level of agreement (96.77%) on the fact
that the disease will eventually be eradicated. In another
measure, 93.55% agreed that Nigeria will eventually win
the battle against the disease. This optimism is an
encouraging sign that in the public awareness reports of
the journalists, they are most likely going to encourage the
public to obey the rules and regulations put in place by the
government and public health institutions to stem the
spread of the virus.
In the area of practice, most of the respondents reported
that they were not following the necessary protocols for
avoiding COVID-19. While the virus was still spreading,
respondents in our study group were still going to crowded
environments like markets and worship places. This is
quite displeasing as it has been shown that worship places
were mostly responsible for the spread of the virus in
countries like Iran (Zamirirad, 2020) and South Korea
(Wildman, 2020).
However, the study found out that an equally proportionate
number of respondents were not wearing face masks as
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 90
advised by health institutions. This was a very surprising
aspect of the study as it is expected the respondents will
know that wearing masks, as recommended by the World
Health Organization and the Nigerian Centre for Disease
Control is a preventive measure. Two reasons may
probably account for this strange practice. The first is that
at the beginning of the spread of the virus, the wearing of
face masks didn’t seem to go down well with the local
Nigerian population. Subsequently, most people did not
see it as a mandatory practice in their everyday activities.
Secondly, as at the period of this study, the pandemic was
still at the early stages of its incubation in Nigeria. Indeed,
less than 1000 persons had been infected with COVID-19.
In the circumstance, public health advisory was just
beginning to be taken seriously by the population.
In trying to understand if knowledge was related to
attitudes and practices, the study returned a positive link
between the variables of knowledge and attitudes. This is
in agreement with studies done elsewhere on the
correlation between knowledge and attitudes (Azlan, 2020;
Al-Hanawi, 2020; Zhong, 2020). Unfortunately, knowledge
did not seem to influence practices in this study. It was
found out that a good knowledge of the pandemic did not
automatically translate into prevention practices. A slightly
similar situation was reported in the study by Azlan (2020)
where it was found that the wearing of face masks was not
very common in Malaysia. There thus seems to be a lot of
ground to be covered in urging the study group and the
general population to adhere to public health protocol as
advised by relevant authorities.
CONCLUSION
There have been many myths and fake assumptions
regarding the spread and treatment of COVID-19 around
the world. In most of the developing world and especially
in Nigeria, word of mouth is still a prevalent means of
communication. In the circumstance, these myths are
taken as true and tend to stifle factual information. This
study, as with others that deal with the connection between
knowledge and behavior, has shown that a good
knowledge base is important for attitudes and practices. It
is, therefore, necessary that a robust public information
protocol should be put in place by the Nigerian government
and its various health institutions to enlighten and educate
the people on how to manage issues pertaining to the
pandemic. In the same vein, it is also suggested that a
multi-platform information system using all traditional, non-
traditional and new (social) media should be deployed in
educating the populace about the pandemic. While
traditional and new (social) media platforms are easily
identifiable, non-traditional media in Nigeria may include
the services of town-criers; town-hall meetings with kings
and chiefs, as well as story-telling sessions in villages. The
short- and long-term effects of the pandemic are still
developing but it is already clear that the economies of the
developing world will be hard hit. Governments already
struggling to meet the basic needs of the people will be
further challenged to care for the poor and vulnerable.
Mitigation actions should be spearheaded by governments
and health institutions while journalists propagate these to
steam the pandemic. In the final analysis however, such
actions will require the support of all stakeholders to
ensure that the social, political and economic effects of the
pandemic do not overwhelm the already weak economy of
a developing country like Nigeria.
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Enendu and Jimba 91
Table 1 – Questionnaire on Knowledge base, Attitudes and Practices towards COVID-19#
Question Options
Demographics
D.1 – What is your age ----------------------
D.2 – Which is your gender Male; Female; Bi-sexual
D.3 – What is your marital status Single; Married; Divorced
D.4 – What is your highest level of education 1st degree/HND; Masters; Ph.D
D.5 – Years as a practicing journalist ------------------------
Knowledge Base
K.1 – The main clinical symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, fatigue,
dry cough and sneezing True; False; I don’t know
K.2 – Unlike the common cold, stuffy nose, runny nose and sneezing
are less common in persons infected with the COVID-19 virus True; False; I don’t know
K.3 – There currently is no effective cure for COVID-19, but early
symptomatic and supportive treatment can help most patients
recover from the infection True; False; I don’t know
K.4 – Not all persons with COVID-19 will develop to severe cases.
Only those who are elderly, have chronic illnesses, and are
obese are more likely to be severe cases True; False; I don’t know
K.5 – Eating bush meat or contacting pets such as dogs and cats would
result in infection by the COVID-19 virus True; False; I don’t know
K.6 – Persons with COVID-19 cannot infect the virus to others when a
fever is not present True; False; I don’t know
K.7 – The COVID-19 virus spreads via respiratory droplets of
infected individuals True; False; I don’t know
K.8 – Ordinary residents can wear general medical masks to prevent
infection by the Covid-19 virus True; False; I don’t know
K.9 – It is not necessary for children and young adults to take measures
to prevent the infection by COVID-19 virus True; False; I don’t know
K.10 – To prevent infection by COVID-19, individuals should avoid
going to crowded places such as weddings, parties, conferences,
bus stations and avoid taking public transportation True; False; I don’t know
K.11 – Isolation and treatment of people who are infected with the
COVID-19 virus are effective ways to reduce the spread of the virus True; False; I don’t know
K.12 – People who have contact with someone infected with COVID-19
virus should be immediately isolated in a proper place. In general,
the observation period is 14 days True; False; I don’t know
Attitudes
A.1 – Do you agree that COVID-19 will finally be successfully controlled? Agree; Disagree; I don’t know
A.2 – Do you have confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against
Covid-19 Virus Yes; No
Practices
P.1 – In recent days, have you gone to a crowded place like a
Church or Mosque? Yes; No
P.2 – In recent days, have you worn a mask when leaving home? Yes; No
P.3 – How often do you wash your hands with soap and running water? Always; Sometimes; Rarely
________________________________________________________________________________________
Key: D=Demography; K=Knowledge; A=Attitude; P=Practice
#Questionnaire adapted from - Zhong, B; Luo, W; Li, H et al (2020)
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 92
Table 2 – Demographic Characteristics of Respondents
Characteristics No. of Respondents Percentage %
Age
18 – 24 1 3.3
25 – 34 12 40.0
35 – 44 13 43.3
45 – 54 4 13.3
Gender
Male 10 33.3
Female 20 66.7
Marital Status
Single 18 60.0
Married 9 30.0
Divorced 3 10.0
Education
First Degree/Higher Diploma 20 66.7
Masters’ Degree 9 30.0
Doctorate 1 3.3
Years of Practice
0 – 5 11 36.7
6 – 10 10 33.3
11 – 15 8 26.7
16 – 20 1 3.3
Table 3: Logistic Regression Effect/Impact of some demographic variables on practices (In recent days, have you
worn a mask when leaving home?).
Variables Dy/Dx Standard error Z-value P>|Z|
Age -.4932106** .22722 -2.17 0.030
Gender -.2447708 .27927 -0.88 0.381
Marital Status -.1724252 .17364 -0.99 0.321
Educational level -.1861249 .11639 -1.60 0.110
Years of Experience
Likelihood
.3313793** .16027
-15.893406
2.07 0.039
LR Chi-square (5) 7.43
p>Chi-square 0.0709
Pseudo R-Square 0.2332
** significant at 5% level of probability
Table 4: Logistic Regression Showing the Effect/Impact of some demographic variables on practices (How often
do you wash your hands with soap and running water?).
Variables Dy/Dx Standard error Z-value P>|Z|
Age .0969866** .11849 0.82 0.014
Gender -.0241715 .03216 -0.75 0.452
Marital Status -.0369375 .034 -1.09 0.277
Educational level -.0196755 .01892 -1.04 0.298
Years of experience
Likelihood
-.0455768 .06031
-6.883382
-0.76 0.450
LR Chi-square (5) 9.56
p>Chi-square 0.0886
Pseudo R-Square 0.4158
** significant at 5% level of probability
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Enendu and Jimba 93
Table 5: Knowledge Base and Attitudes of the Journalists towards COVID-19
Variable Frequency Percentage (%)
Knowledge
K1
True
I don’t Know
K2
False
True
I don’t Know
K3
True
K4
False
True
I don’t Know
K5
False
True
I don’t Know
K6
False
I don’t know
K7
False
True
K8
False
True
I don’t Know
K9
False
True
I don’t Know
K10
True
K11
True
K12
True
Attitude
A1
Agree
I don’t know
A2
No
yes
Practices
P1
No
Yes
P2
No
Yes
P3
Always
Sometimes
28
2
5
19
6
30
5
23
2
24
2
4
28
2
2
28
13
16
1
26
3
1
30
30
30
29
1
1
29
1
29
16
14
26
4
93.3
6.7
16.7
63.3
20.0
100.0
16.7
76.7
6.7
80.0
6.7
13.3
93.3
6.7
6.7
93.3
43.3
53.3
3.3
86.7
10.0
3.3
100.0
100.0
100.0
96.7
3.3
3.3
96.7
3.3
96.7
53.3
46.7
86.7
13.3
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 94
Table 6: Correlation between Knowledge and attitude variables
Variables A.1 A.2
Knowledge
K1
Correlation coefficient -.050 -.071
Sig(2-tailed) .795 .780
K2
Correlation coefficient .244 -.203
Sig(2-tailed) .194 .281
K4
Correlation coefficient .337* .169
Sig(2-tailed) .067 .373
K5 .050 -.414**
Correlation coefficient .795 .010
Sig(2-tailed)
K7
Correlation coefficient -.050 .464**
Sig(2-tailed) .795 .010
K8
Correlation coefficient .199 .018
Sig(2-tailed) .293 .925
K9
Correlation coefficient .062 -.356*
Sig(2-tailed) .745 .053
**, *. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 and 0.1 level (2-tailed).
Table 7: Correlation between knowledge and practice variables
Variables P.1 P.2 P.3
Knowledge
K1
Correlation coefficient .050 -.081 -.105
Sig(2-tailed) .795 .925 .581
K2
Correlation coefficient -.244 .157 .109
Sig(2-tailed)
K4
.194 .407 .568
Correlation coefficient .102 .042 -.216
Sig(2-tailed) .590 .825 .251
K5
Correlation coefficient -.050 .018 .105
Sig(2-tailed) .794 .925 .581
K7
Correlation coefficient .050 -.286 -.105
Sig(2-tailed) .795 .126 .581
K8
Correlation coefficient .174 .473** -.178
Sig(2-tailed) .925 .008 .368
K9
Correlation coefficient -.062 -.089 -.196
Sig(2-tailed) .745 .640 .299
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria
Enendu and Jimba 95
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Accepted 27 July 2020
Citation: Enendu CO, Jimba SW (2020). COVID-19:
Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among
Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria. International
Journal of Journalism and Mass Communication, 6(1):
084-96.
Copyright: © 2020: Enendu and Jimba. This is an open-
access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted
use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original author and source are cited.

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COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria

  • 1. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria *1Chiamaka Obiageli Enendu, 2Samuel Wodi Jimba 1Postgraduate Student, Department of Media Arts, University of Abuja, Nigeria 2Senior Lecturer, Department of Library and Information Science, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria The Coronavirus pandemic is presently the topic of discussion among various segments of global society. From the developed North to the developing South, within economically poor and rich countries, the huge rates of infection and resulting deaths from the pandemic has surpassed anything seen for a long time. Health systems and economies in both developed and developing countries are challenged in ways never imagined. The global efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic are moving at a very fast pace. Public health information is one of the strategies being used to ensure that persons are knowledgeable about the pandemic and adopt practices and protocols that will stem infections within the community. This study was undertaken to gauge the knowledge levels of journalists in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja and the impact of the knowledge on their attitudes and practices. The knowledge, attitudes and practice study model were used to gauge the interrelatedness of these variables among the study group. Logit regression tests, t-tests, chi-square and descriptive analysis were used to determine knowledge levels as well as what factors influenced attitudes and practices towards COVID-19 within the group. Overall, knowledge level amongst the study group was good and had a positive impact on attitude patterns. However, there was no high positive correlation between knowledge and practices. It is suggested that journalists in Nigeria must adhere to public health protocols in order to be able to engage in multi-platform public health information awareness publications which will sensitize the public into observing the COVID containment protocols. Keywords: COVID-19; Knowledge; Attitudes; Practices; Journalists; Public Health Information; Nigeria INTRODUCTION The entire universe is presently gripped with discussions and concerns about the novel virus called Coronavirus. Due to its geographical spread, effects and huge mortality rates, governments, institutions and individuals around the world are taking unprecedented measures to contain its further spread within the populace. Some of the developing measures (as of the time of writing) include travel bans, total lockdown of cities and countries, human to human contact limitations, as well as a robust public health information and awareness strategy. In December 2019, first reports emerged of a strange illness that was causing mortalities in the Chinese region of Wuhan. The disease, as later reported, was caused by a new strain of Coronavirus which generally affects the upper and lower respiratory tract. Most of the reported first cases of infected persons, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission (WMHC) had a history of exposure to wildlife animals at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China. This market is noted for selling poultry, snakes, bats, and other farm animals and is suspected to be where transmissions first started (Cheng and Shan, 2020). Initial suspicion was that transmission occurred from animals to humans, but as the spread of the disease widened, human to human transmission was confirmed (Chan, J. et al. 2020). As at 23rd July 2020, the World Health Organization reported that there were 15,012,731 cases of COVID-19 globally with 642,387 of these in Africa. On the same date, there was reported to have been 619,150 mortalities globally with 10,789 in Africa. *Corresponding Author: Chiamaka Obiageli Enendu, Department of Media Arts, University of Abuja, Nigeria. Email: chiamakaenendu@gmail.com Co-Author 2 Email: sjimba@nsuk.edu.ng Review Article Vol. 6(1), pp. 084-96, July, 2020. © www.premierpublishers.org, ISSN: 2143-2686 International Journal of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • 2. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Enendu and Jimba 85 Consequent on concerns from individuals and governments, the World Health Organization (WHO) on February 11, 2020 officially designated the novel virus as a pandemic and renamed it "Covid-19" (Deng, 2020). The idea was to stem what had become the rising tide of Chinese stigmatization - ("Co" stands for "corona", "vi" for virus and "d" for disease. Also "19" stands for the year the virus was first identified). The scientific information on Covid-19 is still developing as at the time of writing. However, according to Dawood (2020), it is known to belong to the family group of Coronaviridae that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to other more severe diseases similar in the nature to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS CoV). Generally, this virus presents as a pneumonia-like disease that attacks the human respiratory system, but it has recently been discovered that some persons infected with the disease are asymptomatic. For the others who show symptoms from the infection, the major presentations of the disease are fever, cough and shortness of breath (Zhong, et al: 2020). These can occur within two to fourteen days after exposure (US-CDC and WHO, 2020). Additionally, the World Health Organization reports that the time between symptom onset and death ranges from 2 to 8 weeks. Available public information also indicates that some people are at a higher risk of getting very sick from the virus. These include older adults; persons with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung diseases (WHO, 2020). The disease is spread when an uninfected person inhales droplets of cough or sneeze from persons who are infected or when they touch contaminated surfaces prior to touching their eyes, noses or mouth. The World Health Organization in its COVID-19 situation report No. 73 (2020) postulates that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted from both symptomatic and asymptomatic persons to others who are in close contact through respiratory droplets, by direct contact with infected persons, or by contact with contaminated objects and surfaces. Due to the high risk of person to person infection, most health institutions have warned against crowding and advised social distancing. In Nigeria, according to the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on 27th February 2020 (https://ncdc.gov.ng/news/227/first- case-of-corona-virus-disease-confirmed-in-nigeria). This index case was the first to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China. It was of an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020. Since this index case, the number of infections has grown to 38,948 with 833 mortalities as at 23rd July, 2020. As in other countries and climes, the Nigerian healthcare system was sadly unprepared for the pandemic. When the index case was announced, Nigeria had only two molecular test laboratories located in Lagos and Abuja. In the same vein, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) publicly declared the lack of adequate testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as lack of adequate ventilators for the infected. At the commencement of containment measures, one of the isolation and treatment centres in the capital city of Abuja – University of Abuja Teaching Hospital – had less than ten functional ventilators. The unavailability of isolation centers for the management and treatment of the disease also posed a serious challenge as there was only the Infectious Diseases Hospital Yaba, Lagos equipped and available for a population that is approaching 200 million persons. In order to mitigate and contain the spread of the disease therefore, various public health information approaches had to be deployed to pass factual information to the populace. Governments and health institutions in the country adopted the strategy of public information because of the general belief that information plays a vital role in influencing attitudes that are responsible for mitigating the spread of the virus (Lima, 2020). The types of information disseminated by the Nigerian National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the Federal and State Ministries of Health and Information, as well as other relevant government institutions include, but are not limited to measures on how to avoid infection and/or spread of the disease and the steps to take if anyone has identified symptoms of the disease. Specifically, it was required that people must regularly wash their hands under running water; use alcohol-based hand sanitizers; wear face masks when outside their homes; keep social distance and avoid unnecessary touch of the eyes, nose and mouth. It was also advised that once a person shows the symptoms of fever, cough and breathlessness, they should report to the nearest health facility. Amongst the public information platforms deployed to pass this information to the public are traditional and new media channels. Traditional media channels include adverts and jingles on television and radio, roadside billboards, newspaper adverts, as well as flyers and pamphlets normally distributed in public places. New media channels (or what is now generally referred to social media) have also been used as strategy for conveying information to the public. The platforms in use include official and verified Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube pages. The intent of using media to pass public health information on the COVID-19 is primarily to change attitudes and behavior and in the long run, to contain the disease. According to Hussain (2020) social media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube are major sources for spreading information and news about the pandemic and these can play positive roles in containing the COVID-19 by promoting effective strategies to deal with the disease protocols.
  • 3. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 86 The KAP Study Model Most public and private institutions, including governments, have realized the essentiality of information in determining actions and attitudes. In this respect, once an issue of public concern occurs, information is always passed to the public to advise individuals to behave in a predetermined way (Bansal, 2003; Karim, 2011). The Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) study model has been designed and used severally to study the effects of knowledge on attitudes and behavior. According to You and Han (2020), the KAP survey model is a representative tool used for a specific population to collect information on what is known, believed, and done concerning a specific subject. The World Health Organization (WHO, 2014) Working Group on Monitoring and Evaluation issued a working paper on KAP in which it defined the purposes of a KAP study as:  To identify knowledge gaps, cultural beliefs, and behavioral patterns that may identify needs, problems, and barriers to help plan and implement interventions.  To deepen the understanding of commonly known information, attitudes, and factors that influence behavior.  To generate baseline levels and measure changes that result from interventions.  To assess and identify communications processes and sources important for program implementation and effectiveness.  To help set program priorities and make program decisions. Explaining further, Chien-Yun, et al (2012) postulated that within the KAP model, knowledge affects attitude and practice directly, and attitude will also directly affect actual practice or intentions. Bano et al, (2013) explained the concepts in the KAP model as follows (see Figure 1): Knowledge is the capacity to acquire, retain and use information; a mixture of comprehension, experience, discernment and skill. Attitude refers to inclinations to react in a certain way to certain situations; to see and interpret events according to certain predispositions; or to organize opinions into coherent and interrelated structure. Practice means the application of rules and knowledge that leads to action. A good practice is an art that is linked to the progress of knowledge and technology and is executed ethically. Figure 1 - The Knowledge-Attitude-Practice Model (Source: Bano, et al., 2013. Pg35) Studies in Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices There is a huge body of research that has been undertaken to determine the interrelatedness of information, knowledge and behavior during the outbreak of an infectious disease. Diallo et al (2019) studied knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) among students at a School of Medicine in Dakar, Senegal. They found that about 70% of medical students had a good knowledge of the main modes of transmission of Ebola. According to them, “this is a positive point because the mastering of this information should guarantee a reduction in the risk of transmission of Ebola”. Relating the knowledge to attitudes and practice, the study revealed that the main measures to prevent Ebola (avoid all contact with a person with EVD, avoid direct contact with the blood of an infected person or other body fluids, systematic hand washing, avoidance of bushmeat consumption) were known by more than 90% of students. A similar study on EVD was conducted by Mbuk and Umoh, (2016) in some Nigerian military barracks. They found out that majority of the sampled population had a good knowledge of the Ebola virus disease, the mode of transmission and preventive measures. Some of the generally held perceptions that Ebola can be spread through mosquito bites, traditional herbs and antibiotics can be used for prevention were not however consistent with acceptable scientific beliefs. Furthermore, they postulated that such good knowledge impacted on the attitudes of the respondents as many of them agreed to seek prompt medical attention when sick or take their sick dependents to the hospital when symptoms are noticed. Another virus that has remained endemic for some time is the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Quite a few studies have been conducted on how knowledge of its presentation in humans affects attitudes. Maimaiti, N., et. al (2010) did a study among university students in Xinjiang, China and reported that in general students in Xinjiang had a relatively high level of knowledge on issues related to
  • 4. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Enendu and Jimba 87 HIV/AIDS transmission. However, only a third (33.8%) of the students had a positive attitude towards patients with HIV/AIDS. They explained this by stating that although students had good knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS, they still harbor a negative attitude towards HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS patients. Furthermore, knowledge alone is not enough to change attitudes towards people having HIV/AIDS, but deep-seated social and cultural factors such as religion, attitude towards ill-health and risk behaviors especially sexual behaviors can affect attitudes too. Mekonnen, Behailu and Wakgari (2018) studied knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding HIV/AIDS among people with disabilities in Hawassa City, Southern Ethiopia. They concluded that among disabled people, knowledge had a significant effect on favourable attitudes towards HIV/AIDS even though there remained much room for improvement. Another study examined the knowledge, attitudes and practices related to HIV/AIDS prevention among Zimbabwean university students (Terry, P., et. al, 2006). Overall, the study found out that the sexual attitudes and practices of young men and women who participated in an instruction programme were changing as a result of the knowledge gained about the disease, but that progress in some areas does not assure progress in all areas. Concerning COVID-19, a few studies have appeared in the literature indicating a global interest in understanding human behavior and attitudes during the pendency of the pandemic. Zhong, Luo et al (2020) undertook a study on the knowledge, attitudes, and practices towards COVID- 19 among Chinese residents during the rapid rise period of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. They found out that the COVID-19 knowledge score was significantly associated with a lower likelihood of negative attitudes and preventive practices towards COVID-19. Furthermore, most Chinese residents of a relatively high socioeconomic status, in particular women, showed an appreciable level of knowledge about COVID-19 and therefore hold optimistic attitudes and appropriate practices towards COVID-19. In the United States, a study of the awareness and perceptions of COVID-19 was carried out by RTI International (https://www.rti.org/coronavirus-united- states-survey) in February 2020. Results from the survey indicated that while 86 percent of respondents had seen, read, or heard about COVID-19, overall results showed there were deficits in respondents’ knowledge. One-third of respondents incorrectly believed that most people infected with the COVID-19 will die from it, while 59 percent knew that most people who are infected recover from it. Concerning behavior, more than 80 percent of respondents supported actions (e.g. mandatory quarantine, school closures and lockdowns) taken by the government to slow down the spread of the virus. A similar number of respondents were also willing to adjust personal life practices by skipping mass gatherings such as concerts, festivals and sporting activities, as well as skip community places like churches, restaurants and parks. Reuben, et al. (2020) studied the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices towards COVID-19 in North-Central Nigeria. Their findings suggest that Nigerians generally have a good level of knowledge on COVID-19 with a positive attitude and compliance with the necessary protocols outlined by the government. In the same study, the authors found out that despite their demerits, social media and the internet contributed significantly to the acquisition of the needed knowledge towards COVID-19. Another study by Taiwo, Idowu and Salaudeen, Fatimah (2020) undertook a population-based survey to measure the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices towards COVID- 19 in Nigeria. The findings of the study showed that the Nigerian population demonstrated good knowledge, positive attitudes, and considerable practice towards the COVID-19 pandemic. Objectives The objectives of the study are to: i. Find out if journalists working in Abuja, Nigeria had a good knowledge base towards COVID-19; ii. Find out if any demographic variable among the journalists has any correlation with their knowledge, attitudes and practices; iii. To investigate if there is any correlation between the knowledge variable and attitudes and practices among the study group. Study Methodology The population for this study is made up of practicing journalists who work in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja and its environs. The underlying assumption for choosing this group is that as professionals who are daily involved in the processing and disseminating COVID-19 information, they are expected to know much about the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, it is assumed that this knowledge will positively impact on their attitudes and practices. Abuja, being the capital city of Nigeria hosts journalists from the most important media houses in Nigeria. This group of journalists is what might be referred to as “media influencers”. They report from the most important sectors of the Nigerian polity. The specific number of journalists residing in and around Abuja is presently unknown due to the fact that the journalists’ union does not keep a regular list as well as the fact that some of them are independent bloggers. In this respect, an estimate of 150 was used for the study. In order to manage the study and due to paucity of funds, fifty journalists were randomly selected from the entire
  • 5. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 88 population for the study. The journalists who were selected cut across those working in traditional and new (social) media platforms. The survey instrument was mailed to them by email at the end of March 2020 and they were expected to respond to the questionnaire by the end of the first week of April 2020. At the end of the response period, thirty of the fifty respondents had answered and returned the questionnaire, giving a response rate of sixty percent. The Study Instrument To key into the emerging body of research on knowledge and attitudes towards COVID-19, this study used a slightly modified version of a questionnaire from the research undertaken by Zhong, Luo, Li, et al (2020). The modification was only to add demographic variables and adjust the questions to suit local peculiarities. Since the source questionnaire in Zhong (2020) had already being validated, it was considered not necessary to revalidate the instrument for this present study as it didn’t significantly alter it. The instrument finally contained 22 items (see Table 1) that captured demographics, knowledge levels, attitudes and practices among the study population. Using personal knowledge of the journalism practitioners in the study environment, the questionnaire was administered over ten days from the end of March to early April 2020. The first questions (D1-D5) in the instrument consisted of demographic variables – age, gender, marital status, educational level and years of practice as a journalist. The next set of questions (K1-K12) sought to know the knowledge levels of the respondents while the next set of questions (A1-A2) was purely attitudinal. Finally, the instrument sought to elicit the personal practices of respondents about avoidance of COVID-19(questions P1- P3). RESULTS Among the respondents who participated in the survey, the mean age was 37. There were 20 females and 10 males while the mean number of years spent as a practicing journalist was 9 (see Table 2). Results of the effect/impact of demographic variables on practices towards COVID-19 are presented in Table 3. Logit regression was run using five explanatory variables to determine what factors influences the practices towards COVID-19 within the study group. The log-likelihood value is -15.893406; and the associated Chi-square value (7.43) is statistically significant 10% level of probability. This implies that the model can be relied upon to explain the probability of practices towards COVID-19 in the study group. The result shows that only the odd ratios of journalists age (-.4932106) was negative and statistically significant (p≤0.05). Since the age is negative and significant at 5%, it implies that additional increase in age can decrease the probability of wearing masks when leaving home while holding other variables constant. This finding implies that younger people use face mask more when leaving home. With respect to the other demographic variables, Logit regression was run on the variables to determine what factors influences the practices towards COVID-19 in the study group. The log likelihood value is -6.883382; and the associated Chi-square value (9.56) is statistically significant at 10% level of probability. This implies that the model can be relied upon to explain probability of practices towards COVID-19 (the practices of washing hands always with soap and running water) in the study area. The result shows that only the odd ratio of age of journalists (.0969866) was positive and statistically significant (p≤0.05) to the journalists practices towards COVID-19 (the practices of washing hands always with soap and running water). Age is positive and significant at 5% implies that additional increase in age could likely increase the journalists’ probability of their practices towards COVID-19; that is the practices of washing their hands always with soap and running water to manage the pandemic in the study area while holding other variables constant. The results further indicated that the remaining variables are not statistically significant, indicating that the variables are unlikely to substantially influence practices towards COVID-19 in the study area. (see Table 4) Similarly, the journalist’s year of experience in practice was positive (.3313793) and statistically significant at 5% level of probability to their practices towards COVID-19. This implies that increase in years of experience in journalism may likely increase their probability of wearing masks while leaving home as well as in their knowledge of the pandemic. This may be because they have experienced other outbreaks of pandemics in the course of their professional practice. The results further showed that the remaining variables were not statistically significant, indicating that the variables are unlikely to substantially influence practices towards COVID-19 in the study group. The study also sought to correlate knowledge and attitudes within the study group (see Table 5). It is important to point out that some variables, e.g. K6 returned 100% false answer among the study group, as well as K10, K11 and K12 all returning a 100% True response. Knowledge variable K.4 (Not all persons with COVID-19 will develop to severe cases. Only those who are elderly, have chronic illnesses, and are obese are more likely to be severe cases) is directly related to attitude variable A.1 (Do you agree that COVID-19 will finally be successfully controlled?) at 10%. This implies that increasing the knowledge variable also increases the agreement level on the control of COVID-19. Knowledge variable K.5 (Eating bush meat or contacting pets such as dogs and cats would result in infection by the COVID-19 virus) is inversely related to attitude variable
  • 6. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Enendu and Jimba 89 A.2 (Do you have confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID-19 Virus) at 1%. The two variables have a negative and significant relationship at 1%. This implies that as the knowledge variable increase the confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID- 19 Virus decreases. Knowledge variable K.7 (The COVID-19 virus spreads via respiratory droplets of infected individuals) is directly related to attitude variable A.2 (Do you have confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID-19 Virus) at 1%. The two variables have a positive and significant relationship at 1%, signifying that as knowledge variable increases the confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID-19 Virus also increases. Knowledge variable K.9 (Children and young adults do not need to take measures to prevent the infection by COVID- 19 virus) is inversely related to attitude variable A.2 (Do you have the confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID-19 Virus) at 10%. The two variables have a negative and significant relationship at 10%, implying that an increase in the knowledge variable decreases the confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID- 19 Virus. The study sought to correlate the knowledge of the respondents to their attitudes towards COVID-19 (Table 6). A majority (96.7%) of the respondents agreed that COVID-19 will eventually be controlled successfully. This implies that in spite of the current challenges in mitigating the spread of the virus, the journalists have a positive attitude that current global efforts towards finding a cure or vaccine for the pandemic will succeed. Nationally, the respondents showed a confidence level of 93.3% that Nigeria can win the battle against COVID-19. This means the study group have positive attitude towards eventually winning the battle against COVID-19. In relation to the respondents’ practices towards the mitigation of COVID-19, Table 7 indicates that a majority (96.7%) of the respondents displayed practices that do not align with their knowledge of how the virus is spread. Almost all of them have gone to a crowded place like a Church or Mosque. The implication is that the journalists have negative or poor management practice towards the spread of COVID-19. One of the control protocols advised by medical personnel worldwide is the wearing of masks to avoid inhaling human droplets. Many of our respondents (53.3%) reported that they did not wear a mask when leaving their homes. However, a slight majority (53.3%) believed that wearing medical masks can prevent infection. This also shows poor practices among the study group toward COVID-19. DISCUSSION The study set out to find out the knowledge level of journalists in Abuja on COVID-19 and if any demographic variables would impact on their knowledge, attitudes and practices. It was necessary to undertake this study because the World Health Organization has advised all countries to take actions to mitigate the infection levels of the pandemic. Countries have therefore instituted protocols to guide behavior away from infection (Saqlain M. et al, 2020). To achieve this objective, the response of governments needs to be passed to the population through various media (Shrestha, R et al, 2020) which was the objective of this study. Among the study population, there was a good knowledge of the issues surrounding COVID-19. Respondents’ average score on knowledge was 87.61% which showed a good knowledge of the causes, management and prevention of the pandemic. This is slightly lower but not significantly different from the 90% knowledge level attained in the Chinese study by Zhong, 2020. This may be attributable to the fact that many of the respondents were individuals who worked in the media space and who can be said to have good exposure to a plethora of information sources which they then pass to the reading public. Due to the fact that the pandemic is relatively new, a good knowledge of its basic characteristics, signs and symptoms, possible transmission pathways, origin and evolution, as well as its chemotherapeutic options is important (Deng, 2020). Since the knowledge value was positive in the study it is plausible to assume that journalists in Abuja are most likely going to present factual information to their readers/listeners which will counter a lot of the misinformation available in the public space. Personal attitudes to the pandemic including its prevention protocols and long term capacity to eradicate it were also measured in the study. On the two attitudinal questions, there was a high level of agreement (96.77%) on the fact that the disease will eventually be eradicated. In another measure, 93.55% agreed that Nigeria will eventually win the battle against the disease. This optimism is an encouraging sign that in the public awareness reports of the journalists, they are most likely going to encourage the public to obey the rules and regulations put in place by the government and public health institutions to stem the spread of the virus. In the area of practice, most of the respondents reported that they were not following the necessary protocols for avoiding COVID-19. While the virus was still spreading, respondents in our study group were still going to crowded environments like markets and worship places. This is quite displeasing as it has been shown that worship places were mostly responsible for the spread of the virus in countries like Iran (Zamirirad, 2020) and South Korea (Wildman, 2020). However, the study found out that an equally proportionate number of respondents were not wearing face masks as
  • 7. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 90 advised by health institutions. This was a very surprising aspect of the study as it is expected the respondents will know that wearing masks, as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control is a preventive measure. Two reasons may probably account for this strange practice. The first is that at the beginning of the spread of the virus, the wearing of face masks didn’t seem to go down well with the local Nigerian population. Subsequently, most people did not see it as a mandatory practice in their everyday activities. Secondly, as at the period of this study, the pandemic was still at the early stages of its incubation in Nigeria. Indeed, less than 1000 persons had been infected with COVID-19. In the circumstance, public health advisory was just beginning to be taken seriously by the population. In trying to understand if knowledge was related to attitudes and practices, the study returned a positive link between the variables of knowledge and attitudes. This is in agreement with studies done elsewhere on the correlation between knowledge and attitudes (Azlan, 2020; Al-Hanawi, 2020; Zhong, 2020). Unfortunately, knowledge did not seem to influence practices in this study. It was found out that a good knowledge of the pandemic did not automatically translate into prevention practices. A slightly similar situation was reported in the study by Azlan (2020) where it was found that the wearing of face masks was not very common in Malaysia. There thus seems to be a lot of ground to be covered in urging the study group and the general population to adhere to public health protocol as advised by relevant authorities. CONCLUSION There have been many myths and fake assumptions regarding the spread and treatment of COVID-19 around the world. In most of the developing world and especially in Nigeria, word of mouth is still a prevalent means of communication. In the circumstance, these myths are taken as true and tend to stifle factual information. This study, as with others that deal with the connection between knowledge and behavior, has shown that a good knowledge base is important for attitudes and practices. It is, therefore, necessary that a robust public information protocol should be put in place by the Nigerian government and its various health institutions to enlighten and educate the people on how to manage issues pertaining to the pandemic. In the same vein, it is also suggested that a multi-platform information system using all traditional, non- traditional and new (social) media should be deployed in educating the populace about the pandemic. While traditional and new (social) media platforms are easily identifiable, non-traditional media in Nigeria may include the services of town-criers; town-hall meetings with kings and chiefs, as well as story-telling sessions in villages. The short- and long-term effects of the pandemic are still developing but it is already clear that the economies of the developing world will be hard hit. Governments already struggling to meet the basic needs of the people will be further challenged to care for the poor and vulnerable. Mitigation actions should be spearheaded by governments and health institutions while journalists propagate these to steam the pandemic. In the final analysis however, such actions will require the support of all stakeholders to ensure that the social, political and economic effects of the pandemic do not overwhelm the already weak economy of a developing country like Nigeria.
  • 8. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Enendu and Jimba 91 Table 1 – Questionnaire on Knowledge base, Attitudes and Practices towards COVID-19# Question Options Demographics D.1 – What is your age ---------------------- D.2 – Which is your gender Male; Female; Bi-sexual D.3 – What is your marital status Single; Married; Divorced D.4 – What is your highest level of education 1st degree/HND; Masters; Ph.D D.5 – Years as a practicing journalist ------------------------ Knowledge Base K.1 – The main clinical symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, fatigue, dry cough and sneezing True; False; I don’t know K.2 – Unlike the common cold, stuffy nose, runny nose and sneezing are less common in persons infected with the COVID-19 virus True; False; I don’t know K.3 – There currently is no effective cure for COVID-19, but early symptomatic and supportive treatment can help most patients recover from the infection True; False; I don’t know K.4 – Not all persons with COVID-19 will develop to severe cases. Only those who are elderly, have chronic illnesses, and are obese are more likely to be severe cases True; False; I don’t know K.5 – Eating bush meat or contacting pets such as dogs and cats would result in infection by the COVID-19 virus True; False; I don’t know K.6 – Persons with COVID-19 cannot infect the virus to others when a fever is not present True; False; I don’t know K.7 – The COVID-19 virus spreads via respiratory droplets of infected individuals True; False; I don’t know K.8 – Ordinary residents can wear general medical masks to prevent infection by the Covid-19 virus True; False; I don’t know K.9 – It is not necessary for children and young adults to take measures to prevent the infection by COVID-19 virus True; False; I don’t know K.10 – To prevent infection by COVID-19, individuals should avoid going to crowded places such as weddings, parties, conferences, bus stations and avoid taking public transportation True; False; I don’t know K.11 – Isolation and treatment of people who are infected with the COVID-19 virus are effective ways to reduce the spread of the virus True; False; I don’t know K.12 – People who have contact with someone infected with COVID-19 virus should be immediately isolated in a proper place. In general, the observation period is 14 days True; False; I don’t know Attitudes A.1 – Do you agree that COVID-19 will finally be successfully controlled? Agree; Disagree; I don’t know A.2 – Do you have confidence that Nigeria can win the battle against Covid-19 Virus Yes; No Practices P.1 – In recent days, have you gone to a crowded place like a Church or Mosque? Yes; No P.2 – In recent days, have you worn a mask when leaving home? Yes; No P.3 – How often do you wash your hands with soap and running water? Always; Sometimes; Rarely ________________________________________________________________________________________ Key: D=Demography; K=Knowledge; A=Attitude; P=Practice #Questionnaire adapted from - Zhong, B; Luo, W; Li, H et al (2020)
  • 9. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 92 Table 2 – Demographic Characteristics of Respondents Characteristics No. of Respondents Percentage % Age 18 – 24 1 3.3 25 – 34 12 40.0 35 – 44 13 43.3 45 – 54 4 13.3 Gender Male 10 33.3 Female 20 66.7 Marital Status Single 18 60.0 Married 9 30.0 Divorced 3 10.0 Education First Degree/Higher Diploma 20 66.7 Masters’ Degree 9 30.0 Doctorate 1 3.3 Years of Practice 0 – 5 11 36.7 6 – 10 10 33.3 11 – 15 8 26.7 16 – 20 1 3.3 Table 3: Logistic Regression Effect/Impact of some demographic variables on practices (In recent days, have you worn a mask when leaving home?). Variables Dy/Dx Standard error Z-value P>|Z| Age -.4932106** .22722 -2.17 0.030 Gender -.2447708 .27927 -0.88 0.381 Marital Status -.1724252 .17364 -0.99 0.321 Educational level -.1861249 .11639 -1.60 0.110 Years of Experience Likelihood .3313793** .16027 -15.893406 2.07 0.039 LR Chi-square (5) 7.43 p>Chi-square 0.0709 Pseudo R-Square 0.2332 ** significant at 5% level of probability Table 4: Logistic Regression Showing the Effect/Impact of some demographic variables on practices (How often do you wash your hands with soap and running water?). Variables Dy/Dx Standard error Z-value P>|Z| Age .0969866** .11849 0.82 0.014 Gender -.0241715 .03216 -0.75 0.452 Marital Status -.0369375 .034 -1.09 0.277 Educational level -.0196755 .01892 -1.04 0.298 Years of experience Likelihood -.0455768 .06031 -6.883382 -0.76 0.450 LR Chi-square (5) 9.56 p>Chi-square 0.0886 Pseudo R-Square 0.4158 ** significant at 5% level of probability
  • 10. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Enendu and Jimba 93 Table 5: Knowledge Base and Attitudes of the Journalists towards COVID-19 Variable Frequency Percentage (%) Knowledge K1 True I don’t Know K2 False True I don’t Know K3 True K4 False True I don’t Know K5 False True I don’t Know K6 False I don’t know K7 False True K8 False True I don’t Know K9 False True I don’t Know K10 True K11 True K12 True Attitude A1 Agree I don’t know A2 No yes Practices P1 No Yes P2 No Yes P3 Always Sometimes 28 2 5 19 6 30 5 23 2 24 2 4 28 2 2 28 13 16 1 26 3 1 30 30 30 29 1 1 29 1 29 16 14 26 4 93.3 6.7 16.7 63.3 20.0 100.0 16.7 76.7 6.7 80.0 6.7 13.3 93.3 6.7 6.7 93.3 43.3 53.3 3.3 86.7 10.0 3.3 100.0 100.0 100.0 96.7 3.3 3.3 96.7 3.3 96.7 53.3 46.7 86.7 13.3
  • 11. COVID-19: Knowledge Base, Attitudes and Practices among Practising Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria Int. J. J.Mass Comm. 94 Table 6: Correlation between Knowledge and attitude variables Variables A.1 A.2 Knowledge K1 Correlation coefficient -.050 -.071 Sig(2-tailed) .795 .780 K2 Correlation coefficient .244 -.203 Sig(2-tailed) .194 .281 K4 Correlation coefficient .337* .169 Sig(2-tailed) .067 .373 K5 .050 -.414** Correlation coefficient .795 .010 Sig(2-tailed) K7 Correlation coefficient -.050 .464** Sig(2-tailed) .795 .010 K8 Correlation coefficient .199 .018 Sig(2-tailed) .293 .925 K9 Correlation coefficient .062 -.356* Sig(2-tailed) .745 .053 **, *. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 and 0.1 level (2-tailed). Table 7: Correlation between knowledge and practice variables Variables P.1 P.2 P.3 Knowledge K1 Correlation coefficient .050 -.081 -.105 Sig(2-tailed) .795 .925 .581 K2 Correlation coefficient -.244 .157 .109 Sig(2-tailed) K4 .194 .407 .568 Correlation coefficient .102 .042 -.216 Sig(2-tailed) .590 .825 .251 K5 Correlation coefficient -.050 .018 .105 Sig(2-tailed) .794 .925 .581 K7 Correlation coefficient .050 -.286 -.105 Sig(2-tailed) .795 .126 .581 K8 Correlation coefficient .174 .473** -.178 Sig(2-tailed) .925 .008 .368 K9 Correlation coefficient -.062 -.089 -.196 Sig(2-tailed) .745 .640 .299 **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
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