Providing incentives – not necessarily monetary reward – will help improve citizens’ compliance to minimum public health standards amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was among the recommendations of a study titled, “Insights on Covid-19 among residents: Correlates of non-compliance to minimum public health standards (MPHS)” conducted by the National Task Force (NTF) with lead researchers Dr. Eleanor J. Galvez, Dr. Kenneth G. Ronquillo, Prof. Sheila Arelli G. Safra, and Prof. Marilyn E. Crisostomo.
The study was presented to Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong and city executives during the management committee meeting on May 4 via Zoom.
Using the cross-sectional study as methodology, the NTF researchers adopted the World Health Organization Covid-19 Snapshot Monitoring Survey Tool to collect data from Baguio residents by answering 27 selected questions via Google forms posted at the social media site of the city government through the Public Information Office.
The study involved 1,214 respondents from March 9 to 27.
The study concluded, “Adherence to all MPHS appears highly challenging for the majority of respondents with 72 percent not being able to comply.”
Among the attributes, non-compliance is highest in hygienic practices particularly foot bathing before entering premises, face covering practices particularly wearing of face shield as necessary and social distancing practices particularly choosing to eat or dine outdoors.
Aside from social reward, the researchers recommended eight interventions to improve public compliance to MPHS such as promoting understanding of the benefits of behavioral change through education, persuading responsibility toward others in families and the community, and training and demonstrations on MPHS focusing on what to do and what not to do.
The group also recommended coercion as a strategy – threat of punishment for noncompliance to MPHS which is already being implemented through ordinances; implementation of restrictions with clear and specific social rules around behaviors; and environmental restructuring such as redesigning indoor and outdoor spaces and the material resources.
The team also recommended for the adoption of “modeling or showing people ways that are culturally appropriate and realistic to achieve,” as well as enabling range of interventions for improving capability to monitor compliance to MPHS.
Magalong said the city will conduct a study covering the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba and Tublay using the tools used by the NTF to improve policies being implemented in the combat against Covid-19.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña will head the technical working group to conduct the local study.
“The result of the NTF study serves as an eye opener for us to improve our health protocols. All the while we thought we are doing okay,” he said. – Jessa P. Samidan