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SSRC at AMBSO

AMBSO with support from Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC) has been implementing a cross-sectional study that was nested into the AMBSO Population Health Surveillance (APHS); a longitudinal population-based cohort study that conducts annual surveys enrolling Household members aged 13-80 years within selected communities in Wakiso and Hoima districts, Uganda.

The main objective of the study was;

• To explore the influence of Community Stakeholders and development partners inclined to religion on perceptions, practices and efforts towards the control of COVID 19.

In this study, community leaders, opinion leaders, and leaders of various religious faiths were identified through a community mapping exercise between November 2020 to May 2021.

Quantitative data was collected by a Structured Questionnaire from 330 APHS participants who had earlier participated in a mid-year telephone survey conducted two months after the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic in Uganda.

24 Key informant interviews (KIIs) were conducted at each participant’s convenient place of privacy while adhering to the COVID 19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Findings:

A greater margin of the population had comprehensive knowledge on the causes and modes of transmission which contributed to 82%, while knowledge on recommended ways of prevention and control of COVID-19 was found to be at 87%. Key prevention and control measures were well accepted and put into practice including; hand washing, social distancing and wearing face masks which was as well observed to be closely similar across different religious denominations.

Data collected from various participants linked a number of positive practices due to religious influence which potentially supported knowledge flow and practice.

Conclusion:

Religion is highly influential in impacting behavioural change through information sharing. Religious leaders should be prioritised as key change agents based on their pivotal role spiritually, socially, economically and on other health related matters within society.