Originally published in bigd.bracu.ac.bd on 22 May 2020
Considering the population density, healthcare capacity, limited resources and existing poverty, environmental factors, social structure, cultural norms, and already more than 18,863 people infected, the community transmission of COVID-19 is happening fast. These exacerbated a complex fear among the public. The aim of this article is, therefore, to understand the public perception of socioeconomic crisis and human stress in resource-limited settings of Bangladesh during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The sample comprised of 1066 Bangladeshi participants. Principal component analysis (PCA) was considered to design a standardized scale to measure the mental stress and socioeconomic crisis, one-way ANOVA and t-test were conducted to perceive different demographic risk groups; multiple linear regression was applied to estimate the statistically significant association between each component, and classical test theory (CTT) analysis was applied to examine the reliability of each item according to the components to develop a composite score.
Without safeguarding the fundamental needs for the vulnerable ultra-poor group can undeniably cause the socioeconomic crisis and mental stress due to the COVID-19 lockdown. It has further created unemployment, deprivation, hunger, and social conflicts. The weak governance in the fragile healthcare system exacerbates the general public’s anxiety as the COVID-19 testing facilities are centered around in the urban areas, a long serial to be tested, minimum or no treatment facilities in the dedicated hospital units for COVID-19 patients are the chief observations hampered along with the disruption of other critical healthcare services. One-way ANOVA and t-test confirmed food and nutritional deficiency among the vulnerable poorest section due to loss of livelihood. Also, different emergency service provider professions such as doctors, healthcare staff, police forces, volunteer organizations at the frontline, and bankers are at higher risk of infection and subsequently mentally stressed. Proper risk assessment of the pandemic and dependable risk communications to risk groups, multi-sectoral management taskforce development, transparency, and good governance with inter-ministerial coordination is required along with strengthening healthcare capacity was suggested to reduce mental and social stress causing a socioeconomic crisis of COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, relief for the low-income population, proper biomedical waste management through incineration, and preparation for the possible natural disasters such as flood, cyclones, and another infectious disease such as dengue was suggested. Finally, this assessment process could help the government and policymakers to judge the public perceptions to deal with COVID-19 pandemic in densely populated lower-middle-income and limited-resource countries like Bangladesh.
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