Coping with corona-epidemic? A new study to be launched today

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Islamabad:   (Parliament Times)   A new nationwide study on the societal and behavioral effects of the Corona epidemic in Pakistan will be launched today. The study aims to provide insights into how COVID-19 has affected the daily lives of the nation and how people are coping with these effects. A research team from The Initiative, Islamabad, Aga Khan University, Karachi and Khyber Medical University, Peshawar will conduct this study.

The COVID-19 epidemic has influenced almost every Pakistani, whether they have the virus or not. In
response to the epidemic, the Government of Pakistan has also taken action such
as enforcing social lockdown, which is having an impact on people’s lives. In a
telephonic survey, the research team will ask approximately 6,000 people how the
epidemic is affecting their health and wellbeing. Dr Romaina
Iqbal from Aga Khan University said, “the epidemic and the social lockdown is a
testing time for most people. We are particularly concerned about people’s
mental health”. The research
team will also ask how the social lockdown has shaped people’s livelihoods and
financial situation. Dr Amina Khan, director of The Initiative –an
NGO working to improve public health in Pakistan said, “it is important to find
out if the messages to protect from coronavirus are reaching the general public
and having the desired effect”. Further, she added, that the epidemic had led
to stock piling of food and panic buying at one end and food insecurity at the
other”.

The study has been approved
by the Pakistan Medical Research Council, Ministry of National Health Services,
Regulations and Coordination. The study findings will be posted on social media
and the study website (www.initiative.org.pk) and will be updated on a regular basis. Dr Zohaib
Khan from Khyber Medical University said, “given the urgency of the situation,
we want to communicate the study findings to the relevant authorities, media
and general public as soon as possible”.The study will help the authorities to modify their public health
messages to raise awareness and address any misconceptions. Additionally,the
findings will be relevant to initiatives like the “Ehsaas” programme launched
by the Government of Pakistan to help alleviate the impact of the epidemic.