Assessment of Awareness and Behavioural Patterns among Children Regarding COVID-19
Dr. Shruti Balasubramanian,
Postgraduate, Department of Paediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Government Dental
College and Hospital, Medical College Premises, Medical Square,
Nagpur-440003, Maharashtra, India.
Introduction: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread like wildfire across the globe affecting all age-groups. Children usually present with mild symptoms or may even remain asymptomatic. Due to the asymptomatic presentation, they may act as silent carriers and aid in the spread of infection, hence prompting greater vigilance. Therefore, itâ€™s imperative to increase awareness among children and alter their habits in order to curb the pandemic.
Aim: To assess the level of awareness among children regarding coronavirus infection and the behavioural changes they wish to make post-COVID-19. Additionally, it also recorded the recommendations of children for their schools to curb the COVID-19 infection.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 246 private school going children across India in the age group of 9-15 years. A questionnaire was circulated via online platform which assessed the level of awareness regarding COVID-19, its influence on their behavioural patterns and recommendations of children for their schools. The mean knowledge scores were recorded for first part and chi-square test was employed to evaluate the changes in behaviour before and after COVID-19 for the second part. For the third part, percentage for each response was determined. Data was compiled in MS Office Excel sheet (version 2019, Microsoft Redmond Campus, Redmond, Washington, United States). Statistical analysis was performed on Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 16.0 (SPSS) software.
Results: The average knowledge score was 85.50%. This increased awareness among children was reflected in the statistically significant difference in their behavioural patterns before and after COVID-19 (p-value <0.05) and also in the recommendations given by children to their schools.
Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is a pioneer study assessing the awareness of COVID-19 in children and its impact on their behaviour pattern. Children showed good knowledge about COVID-19 with the average knowledge score of the entire sample being 85.50% and also wished to make changes in their behaviour post-COVID-19. Additionally, schools are also required to make numerous amendments in their functioning in order to provide a safe environment. This study will serve as a basis for future awareness programmes which could be directed towards children belonging to various socioeconomic status and educational backgrounds highlighting the aspects in which they lack knowledge.