Perceived Susceptibility Level
The current findings seemed to indicate that most of the interviewees were highly susceptible to the pandemic. For example, all bank guards stated that due to close and frequent contact with customers they are extremely susceptible to be infected with corona virus-19.
Additionally, one traffic police viewed in this way:
We are at considerable risk because when drivers break a law, we try to cease them and allegedly remove the cars plate. As a result, the drivers came with terribly constant distance implore us and sometimes touché us with their hands.
Another traffic police described collective vulnerability to the novel corona virus, because his anxious children came back home from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia where the rate of confirmed case of COVID-19 is escalating rapidly than before. It would seem that it is not known how healthy they arrived; however, they prefer to live with their father and mother under whatever circumstance.
By using health belief model Tariku et al. (2015) noted that if one recognizes severity, benefit, and barriers of the disease, the odds of desirable behavioural change follow. In the same way, most of our Bank interviewees have indicated their customers carry money for transaction instead of using any banking technology. As a result, they felt terribly that they are vulnerable to COVID-19.
For example, one participant illustrated the following:
If the cash is too much, we inform our customers to accommodate inside the insufficient room with no expectations of distance between our clients to count the cash. Our customers also put off their face masks while talking with bankers and communicating with someone else with the phone because they assume they might not be attended to.
The finding indicated that the premium customers had a tendency to act out, because they desire the banks to handle them as close as before. All drivers were terrifying because they travel from one area to another.
Consequently, as a matter of coincidence, we approached one driver who willingly stopped driving due to fear of getting COVID-19. By standing in front of Shashemene town main bus station, he expressed his peculiar susceptibility to the pandemic as; “it has been one month since I stopped working because the disease scared me so much that the people do not care about and I fear to use facebook.”
The current work is also supported by Ogden (2004) that if an individual perceives that she/she is extremely susceptible to cancer of the cervix, that the benefits of routine screening are high, and that the costs of such action are comparatively low.
Perceived Severity Level
The key informants agreed that no disease was notorious as COVID-19 because the pandemic severely hurts all nations regardless of their personal background. Furthermore, other participants remarkably noted that at first; everyone was shocked when the disease outbreak in Ethiopia but now it looks like people adapt it. Similarly, a hotel manager at Robe town shared his views as far as the severity of the disease is concerned:
COVID-19 is incredibly dangerous, that I find myself stay clean without terribly worrying about it. As a precaution, we ensure that we all hotel staff use face masks, sanitize ourselves frequently because, we have repeated contact with money and we often tell our waitress or waiters to keep their distance when ordered by a customer and we allow a maximum of three persons to sit on one table.
Conversely, the findings disclosed that there were many people who have information about disease and assumed as if there was no corona virus in Ethiopia. In this manner, careless people are reluctantly taking COVID-19 pandemic as simple as common cold and the flu because they perceive as the disease does not kill because they constantly caught by it.
Perceived Benefits of preventive tools and Self-efficacy Level
Alongside interviewing the target participants, the researchers were observing some hotels at both towns to see how people are treating the pandemic. In most of the hotels, customers are not allowed to take a seat and share one table by more than three individuals and every worker put face mask on and has personal sanitizer.
We also asked how they serve customers who rent their bed. One hotel manager replied; “as you can see, we offer an accommodation service to our clients by keeping our bedrooms tidy and purify it regularly.”
More importantly, this interviewee reported that us they have been providing brief description about pandemic early in the morning once in a week to hotel workers before they commence their work. In addition to this, their hotel has posted instructions in written form visibly on the walls inside for the one who rent the bed about disease pathways and other precautions to be done. In addition, the waiters were cleaning the seats and dining tables by sanitizer soon after their primary customers left.
The experiences of Awash Bank also seem engaging in a manner of speaking not allowed to wear hand gloves, because they assume that if bankers wearied a glove, it would have protected only the one who wears it, but it could not support their customers from this virus. Likewise, one female employer of Awash Bank argued that “we might forget to sanitize our hands frequently and we contact our clients’ pass book and cash with our gloved hand so, we can easily transfer the virus to our clients.”
On the other side, a bank manager suggested people to maximize the use of modern technology for the services such as transfer of money through their mobile and ATM among numerous services given by the bank. The participant was directly relating it to the most reliable method that is stay at home therefore, they can definitely get the services they need and to reduce their contact with the bank because being at home would keep away them from getting infected.
To identify the perceived self –efficacy level of participants, one driver reported the following; “I take precautions to prevent the disease. I clean my hands frequently with a sanitizer and wear a face mask and we do not allow those who do not use face masks to enter our cars.”
In the same way, traffic police goes further as stated by health professionals to prevent the disease, using a glove while touching metal objects, washing hands often and refrain from touching the nose and eyes.
In addition to this, one more traffic police insisted an intelligent use of preventive measures to fight against the spread of COVID-19. The detail is quoted hereunder:
Once we confronted a convicted driver; we put on hand gloves, face masks and maintain physical distance while removing the car plate number, checking on extra passengers, reading exit paper shown by the drivers.
All traffic police asserted that they have been working hard to reduce the spread of the disease by warning the people to use face masks and punishing drivers who violate declared state of emergency to save the people from the virus. As it was reported by Yang et al. (2020) individuals’ psychological status determines implementation of preventive measures.
Perceived Barriers and Cues to Action
As it was reported, community preventive strategies usage patterns are not completely accurate. A hotel manager noted that some people with face masks don’t cover their mouth and nose. Some use dirty and over used face masks. Some even believe that one who wears a face mask is actually infected that’s why he/she is wearing face mask.
Moreover, one banker was apt to disclose that their customers become even more vulnerable because they have been buying and using a face masks sold on the street which is possibly affected by a lot of people to get the bank services inside. Consequently, a bank guard reported serious challenges he came across at the gate of his bank one of the client came without mask and he informed him to wear his mask unless he can't get in and then the customer shared his friend’s mask.
In the same way, a bank manager insisted that there were clients who put masks in their pockets or on their bag after they got in. A traffic police viewed that as far as the disease is concerned people can be divided into two. The first group are those who possess enough knowledge about the disease, but they don’t practice it, the second groups are those who don’t possess enough knowledge about COVID-19 and unable to use the advice of health experts due to economy and lack of accessibility to hear from different medias. He assumed that relative to the second group, people who recognize the disease well are not practicing preventive measures.
In most of the hotels and groceries, the researchers observed hand washing materials alongside water, soap and sanitizer were placed in front of the gate though majority of their customers reluctant to use it. One of the hotel managers reported the following:
Customers do not wash hands. When insisted to wash, customers say that they have already washed. The same is true with face masks. Customers say that they are free of virus therefore, no need to wear masks unless one is really infected.
People are not only misusing the face mask but also physical distancing and sanitizer. Evidences obtained from diverse interviewees noted that in some places there is still a hand shaking especially when relatives come across each other. Furthermore, another participant reported that at the market the two parties are still shaking each other hand where no one wears a face mask.
Many participants agreed that since Ethiopians inclusive and integrated life style is also aggravating the spread of the disease because neighbours called one another to drink coffee and caring children of one another. According to the participants, avoiding the social gatherings like coffee ceremonies is considered as serious cultural and social violation. In another instance, a bank worker shared his own experience at his home: “Some of my relatives from rural area visited me and when I requested them to wash their hands; they assumed that I am rude to them. One really hates people in this kind of difficult times.”
A driver would cling to his confidence in preventive measures, despite their clients’ irrational belief; “it is getting ridiculous people believed as there is no disease since most of them insult me when I ask them to use a face mask. My sole uses do not deter me from the disease since all are teasing.’’
A research conducted in South Africa by Jaja et al. (2020) suggested that religious and cultural activities of any form have to be restricted. Simultaneously there is also evidence that suggests an awareness gap among the community in implementing the preventive measures. It was exposed that there are until now people who claim as there is no virus in Ethiopia and other people relate the virus with politics because they have a belief that the government doesn’t want to conduct elections. Besides, there was thinking that the government is not reporting numbers of infected cases on the media as other countries do.