Knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic among undergraduate medical and dental students in Lalitpur, Nepal
Background. Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has become a major global problem. There is an urgent need to measure the knowledge of the disease among health science students who can play an active role in pandemic control. The research was conducted to examine COVID-19 knowledge among medical and dental students in a Nepalese medical college, compare the knowledge to other studies in the literature and identify educational needs of students who may be involved in treating COVID-19 patients.
Methods. The cross-sectional study was performed during the third week of June among first to final year medical and dental students. As the country was in lockdown, a structured online questionnaire was used. The responses obtained were entered into IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows and the normality of the data checked using one-sample Kolmogorov Smirnov test. The demographic parameters were tabulated, and total score compared among different subgroups of participants. The frequency of different measures mentioned by respondents were also noted.
Results. More than half of the participants were males (59.6%). Nearly half 282 (49.8%) belonged to age group 21-23 years. The majority 415 (73.5%) were undergraduate medical and 150 (26.5%) were undergraduate dental students. The largest number of respondents, 140 (24.9%), were from the second year of study and 344 (60.9%) were from urban areas. The median total score was 20 and the interquartile range 4. The maximum possible score was 29. The scores among students belonging to different years of study were significantly different (p=0.006). Total scores were not significantly different among other subgroups.
Conclusions. The knowledge of the participants was good. Deficiencies in knowledge were noted in certain areas and these should be addressed through an educational intervention. One of the challenges is the rapid evolution of our knowledge about this condition, which may require regular refresher sessions. Similar studies can be undertaken in other medical colleges in the country and in nursing and pharmacy colleges.