Effects of Coronavirus Pandemic on Young Adults’ Ability to Access Health Services and Practice Recommended Preventive Measures(Journal Article)
Given the limited attention to young adults as key contributors to the spread of COVID-19 in Uganda, this study examines the effects of the outbreak on the ability of young adults aged 18-29 to access health services and practice preventive measures. A national population-based mobile phone survey was conducted in December 2020. Multivariable regression analyses were used to explore the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to health care services. Control variables included region, education level, parity, and source of health information. The majority (98%) perceived COVID-19 as a serious threat to Ugandans. Although the majority reported handwashing (97%) and masking (92%), fewer respondents avoided shaking hands (39%), ensured physical distancing (57%), avoided groups of more than four people (43%), stayed home most days (30%), avoided touching eyes, nose, and mouth (14%), and practiced sneezing/coughing into their elbow (7%). Participants noted that the COVID-19 pandemic affected their ability to access family planning (40%), HIV (49%), maternal health (55%), child health (56%), and malaria (63%) services. The perceived effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on services was higher for those in the Northern region (OR= 2.00, 95% CI 1.00-4.02), those with higher education OR= 2.26, 95% CI 1.28-3.99), those with five plus children (OR= 2.05, 95% CI 0.92-4.56), and those who trust radio for COVID-19 information (OR= 1.65, 95% CI 1.01-2.67). The findings show the pragmatic importance of understanding the dynamic characteristics and behavioral patterns of young adults in the context of COVID-19 to inform targeted programming.
Authoured by: Nalukwago, Judith, Olapeju, Bolanle, Mugabe, Pallen, Passaniti, Anna, Kimbowa, Musa, Ciloglu, Arzum, Mkandawire, Glory, Mkandawire, Glory , Kabanda Richard , Storey, Douglas
Academic units: Faculty of Health Sciences