A Household-Based Survey to Understand Factors Influencing Awareness, Attitudes and Knowledge towards Wolbachia-Aedes Technology

L. T. Soh, Z. Ong, K. Vasquez, I. Chen, X. Li, W. Niah, C. Panchapakesan, A. Sheldenkar, S. Sim, L. C. Ng and M. O. Lwin,  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,  18. 2021.

In 2016, Singapore introduced the release of male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes to complement vector control efforts and suppress Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in selected study sites. With ongoing expansion of Project Wolbachia-Singapore to cover larger areas, a household-based survey was conducted between July 2019 to February 2020 in two Project Wolbachia study sites using a structured questionnaire, to evaluate current sentiments and assess the need for enhanced public messaging and engagement. The association of factors that influence awareness, attitudes, and knowledge towards the use of Wolbachia-Aedes technology was analysed using Pearson’s Chi-square test and binary logistic regression. Of 500 respondents, 74.8% were aware of Project Wolbachia-Singapore. Comparatively, the level of knowledge on Wolbachia-Aedes technology was lower, suggesting knowledge gaps that require enhanced communication and messaging to address misinformation. Longer exposure to the project predicted greater awareness, whereas higher education levels predicted higher knowledge levels. Younger age groups and higher education levels were associated with high acceptance towards the project. High levels of trust and acceptance towards the project were also observed across the population. The public’s positive perception of the project is a testament to the effective public communication undertaken to date and will facilitate programme expansion.

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