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A Rapid Ethnographic Assessment of Cultural and Social Perceptions and Practices About COVID-19 in Bangladesh: What the Policy Makers and Program Planners Should Know

Akhter, Sadika; Bashar, Farzana; Kamruzzaman, Mohammed; Mahmood, Nabila; Rahman, Aminur; Anwar, Iqbal; Hawkes, Sarah; (2022) A Rapid Ethnographic Assessment of Cultural and Social Perceptions and Practices About COVID-19 in Bangladesh: What the Policy Makers and Program Planners Should Know. Qualitative Health Research 10.1177/10497323221091516. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Anthropological literature on health beliefs and practices related to COVID-19 is scarce, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. We conducted a qualitative research on perceptions of COVID-19 among slum residents of Dhaka, Bangladesh from November 2020 through January, 2021. Methods included in-depth interviews and photo elicitation with community residents. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed thematically. Results show scientific explanations of COVID-19 conflicted with interviewees' cultural and spiritual beliefs such as: coronavirus is a disease of rich, sinful people; the virus is a curse from Allah to punish sinners. Interviewees rejected going to hospitals in favor of home remedies, and eschewed measures such as mask-wearing or social distancing instead preferring to follow local beliefs. We have highlighted a gap between community beliefs about the pandemic and science-led interventions proposed by health professionals. For public health policy to be more effective it requires a deeper understanding of and response to community perceptions.

Type: Article
Title: A Rapid Ethnographic Assessment of Cultural and Social Perceptions and Practices About COVID-19 in Bangladesh: What the Policy Makers and Program Planners Should Know
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/10497323221091516
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F10497323221091516
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 by SAGE Publications. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
Keywords: Bangladesh, COVID-19, anthropology, cultural explanatory model, health, illness and disease, rapid ethnographic assessment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148802
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