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Background: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has undertaken strong measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Several steps were taken to communicate with the public on how the virus spreads and various precautionary measures to be taken to prevent the disease. The knowledge and perception regarding COVID-19 influence the design and implementation of preventive measures and campaigns to control the spread of the virus.
Objectives: This study aims to assess the knowledge and perceptions of students at a health informatics program about COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: This descriptive study utilized a web-based survey about COVID-19 pandemic was distributed to 320 students (222 females and 98 males) at the Bachelor in Health Informatics Program, Qassim University, Saudi Arabia the first week of April 2020. The survey instrument was developed and distributed to all students in the program using social media platforms. The survey required 10 minutes to complete.
Results: The study revealed that only 20% of respondents had adequate knowledge about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, with 22.5% had knowledge about the right modes of transmission of the virus. However, 55.6% of them had adequate knowledge of ways of protection against COVID-19. The study findings reveal that a significant knowledge gap exists among health informatics students about COVID-19 regardless of the amount of available information about the pandemic. Social media was the major source of information to a majority (79%) of respondents.
Conclusion: As COVID-19 continues to devastate the healthcare systems and creates a huge threat to human wellbeing, it is paramount to improve the knowledge and perceptions of university students in Saudi Arabia. An appropriate health promotion platform is recommended to reach all students in the country.
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