WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 118-125

Knowledge, attitudes and preparedness to respond to COVID-19 among the border population of northern Thailand in the early period of the pandemic: a cross-sectional study


1 Center of Excellence for Hill Tribe Health Research, Mae Fah Luang University; School of Health Science, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai, Thailand
2 Center of Excellence for Hill Tribe Health Research, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai, Thailand
3 School of Health Science, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Correspondence Address:
Dr Tawatchai Apidechkul
Center of Excellence for Hill Tribe Health Research, Mae Fah Luang University; School of Health Science, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai
Thailand
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.294305

PMID: 32978344

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Background: Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand is a site of many people travelling among nearby countries and areas, including Yunnan province, China. In February 2020, there was concern about the population’s vulnerability to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 15 villages less than 10 km from a border. A questionnaire was developed and tested for reliability and validity; 48 questions covered participant characteristics, plus knowledge about, attitudes to and preparedness for COVID-19. Chi-squared tests were used to detect any significant association between variables. Unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to assess the possible association of various factors with participants’ level of reported knowledge, attitudes and preparedness. Results: A total of 520 participants were recruited of whom 320 (61.5%) were women. The age range was 18–90 years; the average age was 45.2 years. Variables with an association with good to moderate preparedness for COVID-19 prevention and control that remained after adjustment were: women were better prepared than men (adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) = 2.52; 95% CI = 1.36–4.68); those aged 18–30 years (ORadj = 4.26; 95% CI = 1.18–15.30), 31–45 years (ORadj = 4.60; 95% CI = 1.59–13.32) or 46–60 years (ORadj = 2.69; 95% CI = 1.16–6.26) were better prepared than those aged 60–90 years; and, compared with those with no formal education, those educated to primary school level (ORadj = 2.43; 95% CI = 1.09–5.43) or to university level (ORadj = 3.18; 95% CI = 1.06–9.51) were better prepared. Conclusion: Effective communication of essential, accurate and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 prevention and control is essential in this population – especially for men, older age groups and those lacking formal education.


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