There is little knowledge of the fact that contaminated surfaces spread the Covid-19 virus, a report has shown.

The poll by Trends and Insights for Africa- TIFA indicates that though 87 per cent of Kenyans are highly aware that the virus is being spread through coughing or sneezing, 32 per cent are not aware that the virus is spread through contaminated surfaces.

The research was conducted between March 15 and 21 through phone interviews.

Some 1,000 respondents were interviewed with a margin error of +/- 3 per cent.

According to the research, the current knowledge gap amongst Kenyans is the risk of contaminated surfaces in the spread of the virus.

This implies that Kenyans have not yet understood that they can get the disease by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

“It is recommended that public communication amplifies the link between contaminated services and the spread of the disease,” the report notes.

According to the report, though 50 per cent of the respondents know one or two symptoms of the disease, some 16 per cent do not know any symptom out of the five listed despite numerous communication messages aired in the media.

“Coughing and fever are the two main symptoms of the Covid-19 that Kenyans are most aware of at 77 per cent and 70 per cent respectively. There is low awareness of symptoms such as headaches and difficulty in breathing,” the report reads in part.

The report indicates there are misconceptions that symptoms of the disease include sore throat and flu symptoms.

This is a clear indication that information of fever and coughing being symptoms of the disease has been engrained in the mindset of Kenyans but there are crucial knowledge gaps in other symptoms.

“Kenyans need more information on other symptoms. There seems to be a need to have more platforms and channels to sensitise the public on the symptoms,” said the report.

Although there are five recommended preventive measures against the disease, 76 per cent of the respondents have adopted only one or two of these.

However, 18 per cent have not adopted any of the recommended measures.

According to the report, 72 per cent of the respondents wash their hands with soap and water, some 39 per cent use alcoholic sanitisers compared to 26 per cent who are currently avoiding shaking hands, hugging or kissing.

Twenty-five per cent of the respondents have adhered to keeping a distance of at least two to three steps from people with flu-like symptoms, while only three per cent have avoided crowded places and public gatherings.

“The spread of Covid-19 can be slowed through the implementation of social distancing measures and this limits human contact, The biggest challenge for Kenyans at the moment is social distancing,” the report reads.

This means that future interventions should emphasise on the need for social distancing which will go a long way in minimising its impact.

The report indicates that though there remains limited awareness of some of the measures being taken by the government, the majority of Kenyans have been sensitised through media and use of mobile phone platforms.

The report in its recommendations says there are gaps in knowledge and behavioural traits and this presents the risk of a surge in the numbers of those infected by the disease.

“There is an urgent need to increase knowledge and motivate Kenyans to adopt the recommended prevention practices,” read part of the recommendations.

The report further said there is a need for more interventions at the grassroots level that require the joint effort of both national governments, county governments, private sector, NGOs and donors.

Patrick vidija /The Star