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Depiction of Health. 2024;15(2): 159-173.
doi: 10.34172/doh.2024.13
  Abstract View: 209
  PDF Download: 49

Health Care System Management

Original Article

Evaluation of Education Methods for the Public During Epidemics of Communicable Diseases from the Perspective of the Public: A Cross-Sectional Study

Salar Mohammaddokht 1 ORCID logo, Saber Azami-Aghdash 2 ORCID logo, Tofigh Alizadeh Mobasher 3 ORCID logo, Haidar Nadrian 4 ORCID logo, Elaheh Nasiri 1* ORCID logo

1 Student Research Committee, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
2 Tabriz Health Services Management Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
3 East Azarbaijan Health Center, Department of Education and Health Promotion, East Azarbaijan, Iran
4 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
*Corresponding Author: Email: enasiri2001@gmail.com

Abstract

Background. In recent decades, epidemics of various infectious diseases have occurred. Despite the health authorities' educational efforts to provide people with adequate information, there is not enough evidence regarding the evaluation and effectiveness of educational methods. Therefore, the present study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of educational methods provided for the public during epidemics of infectious diseases from people's perspective.

Methods. This cross-sectional study was conducted in Iran in 2023. The participants included individuals who were older than 15 years and were living in Iran during the recent epidemics. We used a tailored questionnaire consisting of 14 questions to gather information. The validity of the questionnaire was ensured by calculating the content validity index and ratio. Furthermore, its reliability was confirmed through a pilot study. The participants were selected using convenience sampling. In order to collect data, the questionnaire was distributed to the target group both electronically and in person. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS software (version 24) with normality tests conducted, and any P-value below 0.05 was considered significant.

Results. A total of 278 individuals participated in the study, with the majority being women (61.9%). The average age of the participants was 33.9 years old. Most of the participants had a bachelor's degree (43.2%). According to the results of the study, social networks were identified as the most commonly used source for receiving educational materials during infectious disease epidemics (76.8%), and they were also considered to be the most effective source (87.6%). Additionally, based on the participants' opinions, social networks outperformed other information sources (78%). Face-to-face education provided by healthcare workers was identified as the most trusted educational source (81.6%), and the participants recommended this method to others more than any other method (82.4%). Interviews with healthcare experts and in-person education provided by healthcare workers were perceived as the most effective educational methods by the people surveyed (60.4%). Furthermore, the results indicated that as individuals age, their reliance on sources of information like the Internet, social networks, and newspapers tends to decrease.

Conclusion. The results of the current study can provide valuable information for policymakers on educating the public during epidemics of communicable diseases, as well as help them make quick, effective, and evidence-based decisions.


Extended Abstract

Background

In recent decades, many crises and epidemics of infectious diseases have affected and limited people's lives. Despite the education that health officials provide to people during epidemics, there is not enough evidence regarding the evaluation and effectiveness of educational methods. Using people's point of view about the provided education can provide useful information for policymakers to manage intervention programs for future crises and epidemics, so the present study aimed to evaluate the methods of education provided to the public during epidemics of infectious diseases from people’s point of view.

Methods

The current cross-sectional study was conducted in Iran in 2023. To collect data, a questionnaire designed by the research group was used. This questionnaire included 14 questions, the validity of which was confirmed by calculating the content validity index and the content validity ratio. Furthermore, its reliability was confirmed by conducting a preliminary study. The participants were selected using convenience sampling. Then, the questionnaire was prepared in both electronic and face-to-face formats and given to the target group. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS software (version 24). Statistical tests were run, and any p-value less than 0.05 was considered significant.

Results

A total of 278 questionnaires were collected, and more than 60% of the participants were women. The age range of the participants was 18 to 78 years. Among them, 43.2% (120 people) of the participants had a bachelor's degree. According to the obtained results, the participants used virtual networks (76.7%) more than other sources to obtain information. Also, they considered the performance of social networks to be better than other sources of information. With respect to the influence of information sources, television ranked first with 87.6%. In terms of people's trust in information transfer methods, the use of health workers is at the top with 81.6%. In terms of recommendations to other people, the participants recommended health workers (82.4%) and television (77.8%) for obtaining information and education. According to the results, the study found a significant inverse relationship between age and the use of information sources such as television, social networks, and newspapers. This means that as people age, their usage of these sources decreases.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic is neither the first nor probably the last pandemic of infectious diseases in human history. During this period, due to the lack of previous preparedness, various parts of the healthcare systems in different countries have been damaged, leading to some challenges in providing services to the people. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that different countries should be prepared in advance to deal with such conditions. Hence, since in the present study, the views of people as the ultimate customers of health education have been collected and analyzed, illuminating information can be provided regarding educating people during an epidemic of infectious diseases for policymakers in the health sectors of countries so that they can make prompt, effective, and evidence-based decisions about major health education policies.

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Submitted: 21 Jan 2024
Revision: 12 Feb 2024
Accepted: 12 Mar 2024
ePublished: 19 May 2024
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