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Assessment of knowledge and preventive practices towards COVID-19 among tribals living in tea gardens of Eastern India: An analytical cross-sectional study

 Department of Community Medicine, North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Alapan Bandyopadhyay,
Woodland Park Apartments, Sushruta Nagar, Darjeeling - 734 012, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjhs.mjhs_69_22

Introduction: The government of India has launched large-scale health education and vaccination campaigns to combat pandemic COVID-19. However, their effects on changing behavior and practices of the very vulnerable tribal communities remain largely unexplored. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted to obtain COVID-19 knowledge and practice data from 390 households of 10 representative tea gardens of Darjeeling district, chose by cluster random sampling. Heads of each household were interviewed using a questionnaire containing 19 knowledge-related questions and 9 practice-related questions, marked on a 3-point Likert scale. A multivariable linear regression model was fitted to ascertain any association between sociodemographic parameters and participants' knowledge with COVID appropriate behavioral practice. Results: Most households were led by men and had a per capita monthly income of >INR 3000. The mean age of the respondents was 52.15 ± 10.14 years, with most being employed and having secondary-level education and above. The mean knowledge score was 30.16 ± 2.97, and practice score was 5.68 ± 1.54. The most common source of knowledge was from government and health-care campaigns. While most of the participants followed COVID-appropriate behaviors such as wearing masks and getting vaccine, hand hygiene (33.82%) and social distancing practices (32.05%) were found to be poor. Employment (P = 0.005) and knowledge about COVID-19 (P = 0.016) were significantly associated with a higher practice score. Conclusions: Among the tribal people assessed, good knowledge about COVID-19 was observed, owing to government efforts. However, while some COVID-appropriate behavior was widely adopted, hand hygiene, and social distancing were not.

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    -  Samanta S
    -  Biswas D
    -  Sarkar P
    -  Bandyopadhyay A
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