Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) towards COVID-19 among Palestinians during the COVID-19 outbreak: A cross-sectional survey
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly through human-to-human transmission. On March 5, the government of Palestine declared a state of emergency in order to curb the spread of the virus, a declaration that it extended for a fifth time on July 5th. The degree to which a population complies with corresponding safety measures is surely affected by the people's knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) towards the disease. To explore this hypothesis, we gathered data from 1,731 Palestinians between April 19thand May 1st, 2020 through a KAP questionnaire. The participant pool represented a stratified sample of Palestinians living across a number of governorates in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with 36.5% from Gaza and (63.5%) from the West Bank. Gender was almost equally distributed within the sample with (51%) men respondents and (49%) women respondent. The questionnaire included 17 questions about participants' knowledge and awareness of COVID-19, 17 questions regarding the safety measures they had taken in the wake of the outbreak and 3 questions asking them to assess the efficacy of the government's response to the pandemic. Our data shows that 79% of the respondents have good awareness about transmission of the virus, 55.6% were knowledgeable of the symptoms exhibited by an infected individual, 81% were aware of the preventative measures and 82% demonstrated awareness of the risk groups. Most participants complied with preventative measures (77%) and 62% the study participants agreed that stricter measures have to be enforced by the government to limit the spread of the virus. Our study revealed that younger participants and people with higher educational level demonstrated more awareness of the virus. Also, Women were reported to be more aware of preventative measures and to have complied more with good practices. We report that residents of the West Bank have complied more with the right practices when compared to residents of Gaza. Based on the results of this study, we conclude that health education programs aimed at improving the public's understanding of COVID-19 are important in helping the population maintain appropriate practices and should be target people with lower educational level, and that findings such as those discussed in this report may provide valuable feedback to lawmakers working to stop the spread of the virus.