• Less than five per cent of the female respondents said they have not been able to access e-pills with five per cent reporting not having access to sanitary towels·
• At least 50 per cent of youth have experienced a significant reduction in income while about 30 per cent are experiencing more stress and living in fear.
Only one in every four youth believes they are at high risk of getting infected with Covid-19, a study shows.
The majority believed they were at low risk of contracting the virus. Some 43 per cent said it was because they had not travelled, 24 per cent reported that God protects them while nine per cent reported that they were young.
The study, ‘Kenya: Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices and Effects of Covid-19 among the Youth, Considerations for Engaging Youth in Ending Covid-19’ was conducted by Amref in partnership with the Health ministry, Youth in Action and Population Council.
The study that combined both online surveys and phone interviews was conducted between April 30 to May 5 among 2,153 youths across 47 counties in Kenya.
They were aged between 18 and 35 years with the average age being 26 years.
The respondents were drawn from Amref Health Africa’s Y-ACT platform, other stakeholders’ youth platforms, and youth-referrals via SMS messaging and social media.
“Nonetheless, 98 per cent of respondents reported that they would be very concerned if they got infected with Covid-19, with main reasons for concern being that the virus is deadly and there is no cure,” the report states.
Fifty per cent said they are not able to self-isolate if they contracted Covid-19 while only 46 per cent reported having a separate room for isolation, with female respondents being more likely to have a separate room compared to men.
At least 50 per cent of youth have experienced a significant reduction in income while about 30 per cent are experiencing more stress and living in fear.
Twenty per cent reported that members of their communities can self-isolate at home for 14 days.
When asked for the reasons for not being able to self-isolate, 60.3 per cent said families share a toilet, 52 per cent said they were living in one room, 50 per cent said they cannot afford to stay due to loss of income while 42 per cent said they lack money to self-isolate.
“When asked what their critical needs would be in the event that the government asked them to stay at home for the next two weeks, a majority of the youth reported that they would need: food (93 per cent), water (62 per cent), money (54 per cent), airtime (41 per cent) and medical care (32 per cent).”
Less than five per cent of the female respondents said they have not been able to access e-pills with five per cent reported not having access to sanitary towels·
Eight per cent of the respondents reported not having access to condoms while 2.3 per cent reported not being able to access ARV treatment and 4.7 per cent unable to access HIV/Aids counselling.
“Those who were not able to access medicines for various illness include 10 per cent for acute illness, 7.1 per cent for digestive problems, 3.2 per cent for managing blood pressure and 10 per cent for immunisation services while 7.9 per cent for any medications for mental health/stress or depression,” the study says.
When asked about their source of information on Covid-19, 66.4 per cent reported always using social media, 62.2 per cent from TV, 49.8 per cent from friends, 48.3 per cent from internet and 39.1 per cent from the radio.
At least 90 per cent of the youth can identify three signs of the virus with the most mentioned signs and symptoms of Covid-19 being fever with 95.9 per cent, difficulty in breathing (90.8 per cent), dry cough (85.5 per cent), headache (64.1 per cent) and sore throat at 57.1 per cent.
At least 98 per cent reported using masks while out in public. Fifty-four per cent said they are using cloth masks, 32 per cent surgical masks, 12 per cent have both surgical and cloth masks while two per cent are not using any type of masks.
Eighty-one per cent would call the Covid-19 hotline number if they experienced symptoms while 60 per cent would go for a test.
The report is calling for tracking and prioritisation of service use for all population segments, especially among vulnerable populations to avoid long term consequences such as increased incidence of HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies.
“Cloth masks are being used widely, especially in low resource settings. The government and quality assurance agencies should provide guidance on proper use and re-use of cloth masks and provide cloth specifications to ensure the effectiveness of the masks in infection prevention.”
The report is also urging stakeholders and the government to increase the use of social media and mainstream media (television and radio) as communication platforms while including influencers and experts on these platforms to provide the needed information on Covid-19.
Edited by R.Wamochie