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Assessing the knowledge, perceptions, and mental health impact of COVID-19 among students in Rwanda

Hawa Iye Obaje (Bill and Joyce Cummings Institute of Global Health, University of Global Health Equity, Kigali, Rwanda)
Grace Chinelo Okengwu (Bill and Joyce Cummings Institute of Global Health, University of Global Health Equity, Kigali, Rwanda)
Jolly Josiah Kenan (Bill and Joyce Cummings Institute of Global Health, University of Global Health Equity, Kigali, Rwanda)
Aimable Uwimana (Bill and Joyce Cummings Institute of Global Health, University of Global Health Equity, Kigali, Rwanda)
Andre Ndayambaje (Bill and Joyce Cummings Institute of Global Health, University of Global Health Equity, Kigali, Rwanda)
Timothy A. Carey (Institute of Global Health Equity Research, University of Global Health Equity, Kigali, Rwanda)
Rex Wong (School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 18 May 2021

Issue publication date: 14 September 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to assess the knowledge, perceptions and mental health impact of COVID-19 among students in Rwanda.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a cross-sectional online survey questionnaire.

Findings

The mean knowledge score among the 375 respondents was 75.14% (SD ± 19.1), with 195 (55.1%) of the respondents scoring below 80%. Students who believed that COVID-19 education was sufficient were more likely to have lower knowledge levels (OR = 1.84, 95% CI = 1.15; 2.94). While most respondents were aware of their vulnerability to the virus, they did not see themselves at risk of becoming infected. The percentage of respondents reported to have some form of mental health issues was 49.7%. The three most important factors in influencing mental health were age, history of mental health issues, and the way news was reported. Education quality was less affected for those who received online schooling (OR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.33, 0.94).

Practical implications

Education about COVID-19 should be strengthened by capitalizing on existing online and offline learning platforms to frequently update new or changing information.

Originality/value

This paper was the first study assessing the knowledge, perception and mental health impact of COVID-19 among Rwanda students.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their appreciation to all those who have participated in this study.Funding: This study received no funding support.

Citation

Obaje, H.I., Okengwu, G.C., Kenan, J.J., Uwimana, A., Ndayambaje, A., Carey, T.A. and Wong, R. (2021), "Assessing the knowledge, perceptions, and mental health impact of COVID-19 among students in Rwanda", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 210-220. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-10-2020-0125

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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