COVID Study: Disregarding Human Rights and Ethics in Implementing COVID-19 Guidelines Led to Non-Compliance Among People
Makerere researchers have revealed that despite the initial effectiveness of Covid-19 measures, there later arose mixed attitudes towards some of the measures, especially due to their impact of on human rights, social justice (equity).
This in turn impacted the public’s ability to sustainably comply with the prescribed measures.
The revealtion is part of the findings of a pilot study which was conducted in areas of Kampala, Mukono and KCCA area.
During the dissemination of findings on Thursday, Dr John Barugahare, the Principal Investigator noted that in the context of Covid-19, various issues rose, which they thought should be addressed not by reference to scientific evidence but by evidence from social sciences.
“When the pandemic came in, no country globally was prepared and most of the responses by government came from the government. There were controversies arising from the measures implemented, which pushed people to the wall, threatened people’s livelihoods and were not sensitive to people’s rights.”
The public on the other hand, he said, started doubting the covid19 guidelines.
“Most people from a scientific point of view feel that the measures implemented were appropriate. However, they were sceptical about the manner in which they were implemented and their view was that whereas the government came up with scientifically efficient measures of preventing the widespread of covid-19, the way they were implemented did not pay keen attention to people’s psychosocial circumstances. For this reason, most people say that they find it very difficult to sustainably adhere to these guidelines,” Dr Baruhagare revealed.
As such, he said, there was need to think about the social dynamics of the pandemic because the success of the scientifically proven measures cannot be implemented successfully unless they focus so well on the social, psychological and ethical dynamics with in society.
“You can have an ambulance, intensive care unit bed ready but if people think there’s something so stigmatising about covid-19, the moment they see an ambulance coming in their area, they will think they are going to be taken to hospital and everybody will run away. This is because there is a way, they think about covid 19.”
The researchers recommended that the community engagement strategy should be enriched and have specific ways in which information will flow from the top to the grass roots and vice versa.
Dr. Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe Senior Presidential Advisor on Health and Population, said that government needs to increase resources towards research.
The project was funded by the Government of Uganda through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MAK-RIF)