PUBLIC AWARENESS, CREDIBILITY AND PERCEPTION OF GOVERNMENT’S OFFICIAL COVID-19 MESSAGES IN NIGERIA
AbstractHealth communication during pandemic is especially difficult due to the lot of issues surrounding the virility and severity of the disease. Currently, Nigeria has joined the rest of the world in the race to reduce the spread and infection rate of the COVID-19, thereby undertaking vigorous communications approaches to curtail the scourge. The survey design was adopted using online questionnaire for data collection. Lagos was purposively selected because it is the main stay of the pandemic in the country. The current estimated population of Lagos is 14,368,000. Using Cochran’s formula of 500 respondents were chosen. The findings indicate that there was high level awareness through government generated COVID-19 messages but the messages were not regular and timely. Also, respondents indicated that the health communication did not compel them to act positively. Despite the high level of awareness, majority of respondents did not find the official government sources and communication messages credible. Public perception on the effectiveness of COVID-19 health communication disseminated by the Nigerian government was negative. The study recommends that government information and sources should be professional, credible and objective. The government is also enjoined to take strong leadership role in developing, implementing and sustaining health programmes across the nation.
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