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“People Are Not Taking the Outbreak Seriously”: Interpretations of Religion and Public Health Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Caring on the Frontline during COVID-19

Abstract

Religious interpretations of the pandemic have shaped both policy and popular perceptions of COVID-19. This has important implications for the contexts in which healthcare workers (HCWs) delivered care. This chapter uses the case studies of Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to examine how religion and policy—in the context of an infectious disease pandemic—were interpreted as either restrictive to personal freedoms, or supportive of public health practices to control disease spread. Data was generated through interviews conducted with HCWs, analysis of social media conversations, and policy reviews. How the pandemic manifested in these nations reinforces one crucial public health message—religion plays a critical social role in public health and disease control.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    An incident which occurred on 20 October 2020 in Lagos where members of the Nigerian Army fired on ‘End SARS’ protestors.

  2. 2.

    The survey developed and deployed with outpatients was from previously published literature on viral epidemics, most of them related to COVID-19 (Blendon et al. 2004; Deurenberg-Yap et al. 2005; Wong and I-Ching 2011; Abbag et al. 2018).

  3. 3.

    This associating is made using gematria, a numerical value ascribed to the disease based on its letters (Aluko 2020).

  4. 4.

    Clinical Trial NCT04186000.

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Correspondence to Ginger A. Johnson .

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© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

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Johnson, G.A. et al. (2022). “People Are Not Taking the Outbreak Seriously”: Interpretations of Religion and Public Health Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic. In: Vindrola-Padros, C., Johnson, G.A. (eds) Caring on the Frontline during COVID-19. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-6486-1_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-6486-1_6

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-16-6485-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-16-6486-1

  • eBook Packages: Social SciencesSocial Sciences (R0)

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