• Saturday, Jul 11, 2020
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Survey: People want timely distribution of govt aid amid coronavirus pandemic

  • Published at 12:21 am April 23rd, 2020
Dhaka During Lockdown
Two people giving relief to a rickshaw puller Dhaka Tribune

A total of 123 people from different occupations and social groups in 20 different places were surveyed for this research

People are losing trust in the government due to their delayed assistance and lack of information regarding aid programs amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a survey has found. 

Respondents to the survey said they wanted immediate relief, adding that they didn’t trust most of the government issued data, but they do believe the information provided by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control, and Research (IEDCR) and mainstream television channels.

Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), in partnership with researchers from the Accountability Research Center of American University and Georgetown University at Washington, DC in the US as well as the Development Research Initiative (dRi) in Dhaka, studied these collective community responses to the Covid-19 crisis through a phone-based qualitative survey.

Findings from this study were presented at a webinar at 6pm on Wednesday.

A total of 123 people from different occupations and social groups in 20 different places were surveyed for this research. 

According to the survey, the lockdown imposed by the government was widely accepted among the mass population of Bangladesh, after the first few deaths were reported in the country. 

“Initially some educated people were keeping an eye on the situation and practising social distancing,” said Naomi Hossain, one of the researchers. “People in slum areas also started taking the shutdown seriously when they received the news of the deaths caused by coronavirus, as they live in a congested environment and they use community bathrooms there.” 

“However, not everyone is adhering to the lockdown - because of lack of awareness, faith in God as a protection, boredom, need for help or work. 

“Some people thought if they pray a lot and go to the mosque, God will protect them from the virus,” she added.

“However, things started to change from the beginning of April and some religious leaders came forward to urge this group of people to pray at home instead of coming out.

“People in the agriculture sector have to work because they are producing food, but it is a concern how they are maintaining social distancing.” 

Those who are daily wage earners are already facing severe scarcity of food amid the ongoing government shutdown to fight the pandemic, the study found.

People in the survey said local ruling party leaders were making serious efforts, and private charitable initiatives were also noticeable, but the NGOs have visibly done a little to date to support the poor in this crisis. 

The study further found that people were afraid to go to hospitals as they believe they will get infected by Covid-19 there. 

This is having a serious impact on their health as they are not willing to get treatment for their regular illnesses due to the fear created by the virus.

Naomi said there had been a drastic decline in the income of daily wage earners, rickshaw pullers and other transport workers, and it is becoming harder for them to comply with the shutdown. 

This research, the full report of which will be available in a few days, was conducted by Dr Naomi Hossain, research professor at the Accountability Research Center of American University, Dr Mirza Hassan, senior research fellow at the BIGD, Dr Tariq Omar Ali, associate professor at Georgetown University, and Mamunu-Ur-Rashid, CEO at the Development Research Initiative (dRi). 

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