LAHORE - A scientific study by Punjab University has shown that medical preparedness and community education proved to be the most valued preventive tools in combating COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a study “Role of media in health-related awareness campaigns on the perception towards 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): A pre-post study in the general population in Rawalpindi, Pakistan”, awareness and knowledge about COVID-19 symptoms and preventive measures significantly increased over time among the people due to the massive media campaigns launched since the first case was reported in Pakistan.

Findings of the scientific research also proved that increased frequency of media campaigns enhanced public awareness regarding COVID-19.

The research was conducted by PhD Public Health scholar Atta-ur-Rehman, under the supervision of Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, Punjab University Director Prof Dr Rubeena Zakar.

The research showed that media had been serving as an important tool for health education and promotion in our societies for decades, while health-related communication campaigns through media were aimed at changing the health behaviour of the population by creating awareness and promoting prevention, such as hand hygiene practices and immunization coverage.

The study used pre-post design among 384 respondents and the first response from participants was filled in the first week of February 2020 before any confirmed case was reported in the country, while the second response was recorded after one month of the first case detection in Pakistan (March 2020).

It is relkevant to mention here that the first case of coronavirus was reported in Pakistan in the fourth week of March.

As per findings of the result, a more frequent use of electronic media is associated with higher knowledge gains during one month time period.

The researchers maintained that the health awareness campaigns were started just after the detection of the first case in Pakistan, adding that the exposure to media as well as the knowledge of COVID-19, particularly related to its symptoms and to safety measures like frequent hand-washing social distancing and wearing masks, increased with the passage of time..