Assessment of COVID–19 Pandemic Risk Behaviour among Rural Households in Nigeria: Implication for Food Security
The COVID-19 pandemic has badly affected the rural population in income generation, productivity and food security. This study assessed COVID-19 pandemic risk behaviour among rural households in Nigeria using data from the Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone survey (NLPS), (2020) conducted by National Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with the World Bank. Descriptive and regression analysis were used to analyze the sample size of 1195 rural households across all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. From the findings of this study; hand-washing (97.1%), avoiding crowded places/gathering (91.0%) and avoiding travelling (81.1%) were the three most reported risk-reduction measures known by the rural households. In many of the rural households, at least a member had to skip a meal; ran out of food in some households; and at least one adult went without a meal as a result of movement restrictions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall Poisson regression model showed a joint significant influence of awareness of identified COVID-19 risk-reduction measures and self-perception of risk on risk-reduction behavior (LR Chi=13.23, p<0.01). We also found a positive and significant relationship between awareness and behaviour (IRR=1.022, p<0.01). However, self-perception of risk was not significantly related to risk-reduction behavior. The study concluded that although the awareness of preventive measures was high but did not translate to expected behavioural change. This may put most productive rural household members at risk of infection and further aggravate the food insecurity in Nigeria. Hence, Government should change the sensitization strategy on COVID-19 preventive measures in order to ensure the needed behavioural change among the rural populace in Nigeria.