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People queue while waiting their turn to be tested for COVID-19 in the Kawangware slums of Nairobi, Kenya/AFP/LUIS TATO

Corona Virus

Canada-funded poll projects virus caseload awareness in Nairobi’s slums at 40pc

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 12 – A new survey by TIFA research firm has revealed that at least 55 per cent of Nairobi’s informal settlements residents are not aware of the country’s COVID-19 caseload, while five per cent mentioned incorrect figures.

The poll co-sponsored by the Canadian High Commission and Hanns Seidel Foundation indicates only 13 per cent of the city residents are aware of the rate of infection, including numbers of fatalities.

According to the survey carried out between June 2 and 15, more men are aware of the figures at 16 per cent, compared to women at 10 per cent.

The awareness was lower among respondents with no formal education.

Interestingly, Ministry of Health statistics indicate men account for the lion’s share of the 9,726 COVID-19 cases reported since March, compared women in what has been attributed to personal behavior.

“The main point is that unless the vast majority of people do what is required/advised at least until there is a vaccination that would allow everyone to resume ‘normal life’, the virus will be continue in our midst, causing even more damage to both the health of individuals and the economy,” the Maggie Ireri-led research firm pointed out.

As far as awareness of COVID-19 symptoms is concerned, 80 per cent of city residents are aware of coughing at 84 per cenr, followed by fever at 69 per cent, while the awareness on breathing complications was listed third place with 40 per cent mentions.

Some 579 respondents were interviewed across the city’s informal settlements.

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“And even together with a robust program of public health education, the harsh economic realities affecting the greater majority of the sort of people captured in these successive TIFA surveys will make adherence to such regulations and advise increasingly challenging,” the research firm said.

The survey further shows the numbers of people fearing to contract COVID-19 in Nairobi has significantly dropped between April and June.

The uncertainty level dropped from 54 per cent in April to 50 per cent in mid-June.

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