JEDDAH: Well-informed sources close to the Ministry of Health have revealed that there has been a poor response by citizens and residents across the Kingdom toward the awareness campaigns launched regarding the seriousness of the coronavirus that causes the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), despite the significant efforts made by the ministry in this regard.
The source said the response of Saudi society toward these awareness efforts represents a concern in itself in view of the statistics demonstrating the dismal knowledge of people on how to deal with dangerous viral diseases.
The statement comes following a field survey conducted by a team from the electronic portal of the Ministry of Health in which 11,590 visitors to the website participated and discussed their feelings toward the campaigns. The portal itself includes a special section dedicated to the coronavirus, containing introductory information on the disease along with a infographic chart, videos and daily statistical data along with some basic health directions.
The survey, however, found that 65.5 percent of the respondents did not visit the website section on the coronavirus, while about 36.5 percent know the section exists but did not ever visit it despite the ads and promotions on the portal to encourage users to visit the site. About 28.5 percent of the respondents did not know the section existed at all.
The corona virus section contains five main identifications to raise awareness, including the symptoms of the infection with MERS, how the virus is transferred, preventive measures, how to limit its spreading, and how to treat cases of the disease.
The section introduces the data in seven languages, including Arabic, Turkish, French, Bahasa Indonesia, Urdu, Malayalam and Tagalog.
Salem Al-Qahtani, an expert in the health awareness campaigns, said the high proportion of people who did not read or browse the awareness efforts of the ministry reveals the poor culture of society members and perhaps an unwillingness to deal with health issues, especially viral diseases such as the coronavirus.