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Risk Communication Effectiveness During COVID-19 Pandemic Among General Population in Saudi Arabia

Authors Almuzaini Y, Mushi A, Aburas A, Yassin Y, Alamri F, Alahmari A, Yezli S, Khan AA, Jokhdar HA

Received 4 December 2020

Accepted for publication 4 February 2021

Published 24 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 779—790


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto

Yasir Almuzaini,1 Abdulaziz Mushi,1 Alhanouf Aburas,1 Yara Yassin,1 Fahad Alamri,1 Ahmed Alahmari,1 Saber Yezli,1 Anas A Khan,1,2 Hani A Jokhdar3

1Global Center for Mass Gatherings Medicine, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, 12341, Saudi Arabia; 2Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, 12372, Saudi Arabia; 3Deputyship of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, 11461, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Yasir Almuzaini
Global Center for Mass Gatherings Medicine, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Tel +966567761011

Purpose: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), declared a pandemic by WHO in March 2020, is an unprecedented occurrence in our recent history. Effective risk communication by health authorities, through relaying reliable and authoritative information, is imperative in combating the spread of the outbreak. We aimed to measure the effectiveness of risk communication campaign and overall awareness during COVID-19 pandemic among the general population in Saudi Arabia.
Patients and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 5472 individuals in Saudi Arabia was conducted to assess several factors regarding the risk communication messages during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the knowledge and response of the general population toward COVID-19 and MoH efforts. The questionnaire was divided into five main sections: general knowledge of COVID-19, channels and social media platforms used perceived risk and stress or panic toward COVID-19, satisfaction and community perception, most trusted source of information, and type of information received.
Results: A total of 5472 individuals participated in the study residing in Saudi Arabia. Overall knowledge of COVID-19 was determined to be above average (0.58 + 0.159). Of the general population, 57.1% perceived that the risk of getting sick with COVID-19 is low, while nearly half of the respondents (45.7%) have a high level of stress and panic toward COVID-19. The majority of responders to the questionnaire reinforced that MoH was their most trusted source of information for the COVID-19 pandemic (91.7%).
Conclusion: This study showed that the risk communication campaign by healthcare authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic has improved the awareness among the general population in Saudi Arabia, where the overwhelming majority placed high trust in the MoH as its main reference for COVID-19 information.

Keywords: COVID-19, risk communication, awareness, Saudi Arabia

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