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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 96-99

A community project on knowledge regarding COVID-19

1 IV Year B.Sc Nursing Students, College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Lecturer, College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Tutor, College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission07-Mar-2020
Date of Decision14-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance28-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication14-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Mrs. Prema Suresh
College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJCN.IJCN_62_20

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Coronavirus infection is a highly contagious infectious disease that has an affinity to the respiratory system and causes pneumonia-like illness in humans. The spread of infection can be prevented by practices such as social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands frequently. Community participation is a key to controlling the spread of infection. This project was carried out by 12 nursing students in their final-year Baccalaureate programme with the help of their faculty supervisor with an aim to bring awareness in the community regarding COVID-19. The project involved five steps such as orientation to the community of interest, pre-assessment of knowledge on COVID-19 infection in the sample population, leaders' meet, mass health education and family education and post-assessment of knowledge on COVID-19. The community in the selected area had an overall population of 5084. A total of 120 families were conveniently chosen for survey on knowledge regarding COVID-19 infection. The pre-test analysis revealed that 50.8% of the respondents had adequate knowledge. Following the pre-test with the community leaders' support, a mass health education programme was conducted. In the post-health education assessment, 80.5% of the respondents demonstrated adequate knowledge regarding COVID-19 infection. The community project assisted the students to effectively plan and meet the knowledge needs of the community and also enriched their community health nursing learning experiences.

Keywords: Community, COVID-19, knowledge

How to cite this article:
Samantroy A, John A, Lobo AT, Kiruba A, Joy A, Praisy J A, Marbaniang B, Benisha S, Benny B, Roy B, Selina B, Thomas B, Suresh P, Anulin Blessy P M. A community project on knowledge regarding COVID-19. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn 2020;21:96-9

How to cite this URL:
Samantroy A, John A, Lobo AT, Kiruba A, Joy A, Praisy J A, Marbaniang B, Benisha S, Benny B, Roy B, Selina B, Thomas B, Suresh P, Anulin Blessy P M. A community project on knowledge regarding COVID-19. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 18];21:96-9. Available from: https://www.ijcne.org/text.asp?2020/21/1/96/295050

  Introduction Top

Coronavirus appears to have taken over the world. Every single individual across the globe is talking about the virus now. Coronavirus infection, termed 'COVID-19' by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a virus that has special affinity to the respiratory system in humans and brings about mild-to-severe respiratory illness.[1] According to a study report from China, the symptoms can vary from mild (80.9%), severe (13.8%) and critical (4.7%), with a death rate of 49% amongst only the critically ill as of 11 February 2020. It has been established that majority of the infected are either asymptomatic or with mild symptoms, giving the people a break in their fear about the infection.[2] However, the high infectability and the quick ability of the virus to spread from one person to another[1] and the potential spread from non-symptomatic infected persons [3] make the virus a deadly opponent to human health.

The best method of controlling the infection is to break the chain of spread by following infection control protocols. Simple guidelines given by the WHO [4] can be applied to community and hospital settings. As the virus predominantly spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or laughs, the foremost step to be taken to prevent the spread is to wear a mask which may contain the virus from being spread into the surrounding atmosphere.[5] The next behaviour that is emphasised is the social distance that needs to be maintained between individuals to prevent the organisms that may spill out of the infected person or the droplet that carries the organism will not drop and settle on the next individual. A minimum of 1 m (3 feet) distance is advised for better protection from spread.[6] The third vital step that needs to be followed is to wash hands either with soap and water or a disinfectant frequently to ensure that any accidental infection from contaminated surfaces is minimised.[4]

The project

Although the above general community protocols have been established early, awareness of these infection control measures, attitude of the community at large and the cooperation of each individual in the community are essential for any behaviour modification to be actualised.

Keeping this in mind, the students from the college of nursing of a tertiary care centre in Tamil Nadu, India, during their community health nursing posting developed a group project in the early February (10 February 2020–20 February 2020 – when the reported cases in India were three [7] to address the need for awareness and community participation in controlling the spread of the infection). There were 12 students in the group.

The project involved the following five steps:

  1. Orientation to the community of interest
  2. Pre-assessment of knowledge on COVID-19 infection in the sample population
  3. Leaders' meet
  4. Mass health education and family education
  5. Post-assessment of knowledge on COVID-19.

The timeline for all the activities is given in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Timeline

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  Methods Top

Step 1: Orientation to the community of interest

The focus of orientation included a record review of the sociodemographic background of the community of interest as per the available documents in the community health nursing department of the college of nursing. The students also identified the pattern of administration, accessible facilities (both medical and educational) available in the community, social agencies working for the welfare of that particular community and the influential people/leaders in the community.

Step 2: Pre-assessment of knowledge on COVID-19 in the sample population

The students were assigned ten families each, purposively selected from the available family records in the community health nursing department of the college. A questionnaire on knowledge about COVID-19 with ten questions that included items on the cause, mode of spread, manifestations and management and prevention of spread of the infection, was prepared by the students and validated by the faculty. More than 60% of the knowledge scores were considered adequate and below 60% of the scores were interpreted as inadequate. The questionnaire also included a pro forma on the sociodemographic sketch of each family. The students developed a home visit plan and visited the identified families and collected the data. The consent was obtained from the head of the family and the adult member who provided the answers for the question. The answers were provided by individual members on many occasions and as group in some families. A total of 120 families represented as samples from the overall population of this specific community area.

Step 3: Leaders meet

The students planned a meeting with the influential people who hold leadership positions in the community of study with assistance from the faculty. The focus of this meeting was to share the findings from their knowledge survey to the leaders and obtain support for interventions such as mass education programme. At least, one of the four leaders in the community was expected to participate.

Step 4: Mass health education programme

The students planned a mass health education programme (MEP) for the study community addressing the knowledge gaps identified in the survey on COVID-19 infection. The date, time and the venue of the MEP were announced to all the families who participated in the pre-assessment and also to other families residing in the community. Individual family education programme also was planned by all the students.

Step 5: Post-assessment of knowledge on COVID-19

A post-assessment was done in the same families the next day after the intervention of mass education and family education programmes.

  Results Top

The study area in the community is a small area with nine streets. The total population was 5084, with 2518 males and 2566 females. The area is under the administration of municipal corporation. The major occupation in most families is making beedis. The community had easy access to two government and two private hospitals as medical facilities within a distance of 3–7 km. Family health services in the form of home visits, antenatal clinics, well-baby clinics and morbidity clinics are rendered to the community by the community health nurses from the above-mentioned community health nursing department of the tertiary care centre in collaboration with the municipality augmenting the primary care services provided by the government. The clinics were conducted in the community health centre situated within the premises of the area of the study. There are three centres such as balwadis (government playschools for the under-five children), government primary (1) and high school (1) in the area. An active youth club and a library/reading room are special social agencies meeting the socialising needs of the population within the area. The councillor, the Dharmakartha, the Nattamai and the Primary Care Centre incharge are the influential persons of this community.

The pre-test assessment from 120 families was collated and analysed. There were a total of 625 members from 120 families. Amongst them, 46.88% were males and 53.12% were females. Age-wise distribution of the family members showed that the majority were between 16 and 45 years (40.8%) and <15 years (28.8%) [Table 1]. Overall, 50.8% of the respondents from 120 families had adequate knowledge about COVID-19 infection at pre-assessment [Figure 2].
Table 1: Age-wise distribution of the members from 120 families

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Figure 2: Distribution of the respondents based on the level of knowledge at pre-test.

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The students with the assistance of the faculty met one of the leaders of the community and presented their pre-assessment findings. They also emphasised the need for mass education as well as family education for the community. The plan for mass education was presented to the leader. The community leader was convinced about the education need and assured his support for the mass health education.

The MEP was conducted in a community hall in the area with permission and approval from the leaders of the community. A role play was enacted on the topic of coronavirus infection. Students presented a theme song on the cause, spread and prevention of COVID-19 infection. Posters on COVID infection highlighting the prevention of spread were displayed. Representatives from the study families and other members of the community participated in the MEP . Individual teaching at the family level also was given by the students.

Post-education assessment on the knowledge of COVID-19 infection showed a good improvement in knowledge. In the post-assessment, 80.5% of the respondents had adequate knowledge about the infection [Figure 3]. In all the knowledge aspects evaluated, more respondents were able to choose the correct answer in the post-education assessment revealing that the education programmes were beneficial in improving the knowledge. All respondents (100%) were correct in knowing the origin of the infection, the communicability, the signs and symptoms, the diagnostic test and the practice of handwashing, after the education [Table 2].
Figure 3: Distribution of the respondents based on the level of knowledge at post-test.

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Table 2: Distribution of the respondents based on correct responses in the pre- and post-test

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  Discussion Top

COVID-19 has evolved dramatically since February 2020 in India. The pre-assessment results in this project reveal that half the proportion of the respondents had adequate knowledge about the infection even though the number of cases was very minimal in India at that time. The information dissemination through social media and the wide coverage of incidence of the COVID-19 infection in national and international news channels can be attributed to this existing awareness. However, the lack of knowledge in the prevention of spread was a concern at pre-assessment which was addressed by health education, and the improvement in knowledge was evidenced by higher proportion (from 29.1% to 95%) of respondents knowing about this aspect in the post-assessment. This improvement in knowledge emphasises the importance of health education in creating awareness in the community.[8] A study on knowledge, attitude and practice of Chinese residents showed that 90% had good knowledge, suggesting a relationship to higher socioeconomic group. The health education programmes on COVID-19 were also another reason attributed to this high level of knowledge in the Chinese population.[9]

Although the project is done at the time when there were minimal positive cases in India, the emphasis on community preparation for any infectious diseases-related crisis has been addressed by the nursing students through this project. The project further gave an opportunity for the students to read widely on the infection, filling their own knowledge gap as health professionals. The families in the study at the time of the project may not have realised the potential enormity of the infectiousness of the virus, but surely would continue to apply the early information and knowledge they received from the health education. Although community projects are done only as an expected learning activity that needs to be completed by the students, the participation of the students in planning, executing and evaluating their activities provides a phenomenal opportunity for them to engage with the community, identify the needs and sources, meet leaders, present community needs assertively and promote health by education. As much as the community benefited, the learning needs of the nursing students were also met effectively by this project.

  Conclusion Top

Since the project completion in February, COVID-19 infection has evolved exponentially in India. Multiple systems have been innovated and put in place to combat the spread and to reduce disease-induced mortality. The social media is saturated with information on the spread and outcomes of this infection. However, if the community does not participate in promoting and following measures to control spread, containment of the disease will become an enormous task. The community project executed by the students has highlighted the importance of creating awareness and promoting community participation in controlling an infectious disease. The project is also a best example for experiential learning in the life of nursing students.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Wang Y, Wang Y, Chen Y, Qin Q. Unique epidemiological and clinical features of the emerging 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) implicate special control measures. J Med Virol 2020;92:568-76.  Back to cited text no. 1
Epidemiology Working Group for NCIP Epidemic Response, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) in China. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi 2020;41:145-51.  Back to cited text no. 2
Tong ZD, Tang A, Li KF, Li P, Wang HL, Yi JP, et al. Potential Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2, Zhejiang Province, China, 2020. Emerg Infect Dis 2020;26:1052-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public. World Health Organization; 2019. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 30].  Back to cited text no. 4
World Health Organization. Advice on the Use of Masks in the Context of COVID-19: Interim Guidance 5 June 2020 WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_Masks-2020.4-eng. World Health Organization; 2019. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxKX9_--o6gIVlX0rCh3wkwowEAAYASAAEgLcv_D_BwE. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 30].  Back to cited text no. 5
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public. World Health Organization; 2019. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 30].  Back to cited text no. 6
Kerala Confirms 3rd Case of Wuhan Coronavirus; India Issues Fresh Travel Advisory on China; 2019. Available from: https://www.news18.com/news/india/kerala-confirms-3rd-case-of-wuhan-coronavirus-india-issues-fresh-travel-advisory-2485287.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 30].  Back to cited text no. 7
Peyravi M, Marzaleh MA, Shamspour N, Soltani A. Public Education and Electronic Awareness of the New Coronavirus (COVID-19): Experiences From Iran. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 2020:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 8
Zhong BL, Luo W, Li HM, Zhang QQ, Liu XG, Li WT, et al. Knowledge, attitudes, and practices towards COVID-19 among Chinese residents during the rapid rise period of the COVID-19 outbreak: A quick online cross-sectional survey. Int J Biol Sci 2020;16:1745-52.  Back to cited text no. 9


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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