Exploring social factors that affected public health information sharing among underprivileged communities in Sri Lanka during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Thushara Kamalrathne (Speaker)
  • Amaratunga, D. (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Haigh, R. (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Ravindu Udayantha Jayasekara (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • L. Kodituwakku (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • U Ariyasinghe (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Hemantha Herath (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • P Ranaweera (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • C. Rupasinghe (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • S. Rathnayake (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Nishara Fernando (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Chandana S. A. Siriwardana (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Abstract: Covid-19 pandemic is an eye-opener for many governments which has called for the need to develop more sustainable infrastructure, governance, and policies to cope up with disaster resilience. Dissemination of public health information, including warnings and advice on disease outbreaks, has been a key intervention in many governments to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, countries have developed unique strategies and policies to govern public health information during public health emergencies such as epidemics or pandemics. However, evidence shows that there are significant barriers and challenges in understanding health information shared by many stakeholders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the core objective of this research is to explore the factors that have affected public health information sharing, particularly among underprivileged communities in Sri Lanka amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews were carried out in 12 districts in Sri Lanka to collect data. 3200households were covered by the field research. Results revealed that dissemination of public health information about the COVID-19 pandemic has been significantly low among marginalized communities in rural, urban and estate sectors. Inadequate awareness of the SARS-CoV-02 virus and vaccines has been a cause of vaccine hesitancy, and unintentional violation of restrictions imposed by the government, including quarantine law. For instance, 36% were completely unaware of the types of COVID-19 vaccines and their suitability. More than 55% were totally unaware of the effectiveness of vaccines against the SARS-CoV-02 virus, whereas 47% were totally unaware of the possible side effects of vaccines which has been the major cause of vaccine hesitancy in Sri Lanka.
Period8 Dec 2022
Event titleUnited Kingdom Alliance for Disaster Research Conference 2022: Disaster Research and Innovation at a Time of Global Uncertainty
Event typeConference
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational