Nepal Health Research Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Population conducted a study on “Compliance with SMS measures against COVID -19 in Kathmandu”. Study was conducted to examine compliance of SMS measures (use of face mask, practicing proper hand hygiene with use of the sanitizer/hand wasting and social distancing) on public places of Kathmandu Valley. This study assessed the compliance of SMS measures at individual as well as institutional level.
A total of 4502 individuals were observed for compliance on the study. Non-probability sampling method with the use of observation checklist was used in 23 public places of the Kathmandu valley to collect the data at the individual level and intuitional level.
This study identified that during this pandemic more than one quarter of the participants didn’t use the mask and among the mask users also more than one quarter did not follow the appropriate technique of using mask (28%). Maintaining social distance was less followed by the people in the public places, hospitals, public vehicles and only 37.5% institution had set the marking of the social distance. Availability of hand washing facilities with soap or sanitizer was found less in the public places. By and large, the parameters of SMS (social distancing, use of mask, sanitizer and use of soap) issued by the Government of Nepal against COVID-19 were not properly followed. In order to enhance the level of compliance of people, regular monitoring on public places is essential. Responsible institutions should implement these criteria strongly.
- The use of face masks in the community should be considered only as a complementary measure and not as a replacement for established preventive measures like social distancing, and hand washing with soap. So public should be made more responsible in coordination of civil societies for use of face mask, maintain social distance in the community should be made in the places like busy visiting places, closed spaces, such as grocery stores, shopping centers, using public transport etc.
- Regular monitoring of proper use of facemask and other measures especially on public places in coordination with civil societies and local authority should be encouraged.
- To increase the public’s general concern in the value of using face mask, social distancing and hand hygiene, people feeling of false sense of full security on the use facemask only by avoiding social distancing and hand hygiene must be clear by more awareness program through pamphlets, poster, radio and TV program.
- The government should develop policies that can enhance the proper use of face mask. A policy requiring all clinics, hospitals and even public areas to provide free face masks and accessible hand hygiene facilities to visitors can increase public compliance with the proper practice.
- Manufacturers should redesign the package of face masks and incorporate instructions regarding the proper practice and correct technique of using face mask.
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