Knowledge, attitudes, practices and perceptions around SARS CoV rapid antigen self-tests among urban poor communities of Mohammadpur and Bangalore, India
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Swasti Health Catalyst, India
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A342
Background and Objectives: Urban poor are low-income, marginalized communities, particularly at risk of infectious diseases. Covid-19 exposed them to a range of problems that hindered access and utilization of health services perpetuating poor health outcomes and increased transmission. The knowledge and uptake of community-based-testing in vulnerable communities remains difficult, even in long prevailing conditions like HIV, more so for covid-19. Testing alone is insufficient unless it is integrated with the continuum of primary care. Although self-tests are approved for individual use, the feasibility, and acceptability of tests for the disadvantaged remains unclear. This study is aimed to determine the feasibility and acceptability of sars-cov-2 self-testing using a health worker-assisted model among 2 urban slums in India. Methods: A mixed methods study is being conducted (aug- dec 2022) among urban poor in Mohammadpur and Bangalore, where health worker assisted self testing is introduced as part of an ongoing community intervention that provides comprehensive healthcare services. Results: Preliminary findings indicate limited knowledge about self tests in urban poor. Reported uptake of tests was poor at 15%, with reasons of apprehension ranging from ability to complete tests, concerns about results and potential stigma from communities. Self reported willingness to undergo self-testing was high at 91%. Around 77% participants preferred some sort of assistance for conducting the self tests preferring tests to be conducted at existing community institutions. The next round of this study will measure the change in capacities and acceptability of the study at the endline. Conclusions: Conventional covid-19-rtpcr testing presents a huge barrier for urban poor in terms of costs, access, loss of livelihood and stigma. Self tests are empowering, allowing vulnerable individuals control over their health. Results from this intervention will provide learnings for implementation and scale of self-tests bringing relevant findings for point-of-care devices and enable health system preparedness.
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