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Abstract

The study assessed the COVID-19 information seeking strategies of rural dwellers in Delta North, Nigeria. This study adopted a survey research design. Fifty (50) respondents were randomly selected from each of the rural communities in Delta North used for the study, which amounted to 450 respondents used for the study. Out of the 450 copies of the questionnaire distributed to the respondents, the researcher was able to retrieve 418 copies of the questionnaire from the rural dwellers, thus there was 92% response rate. The method of data analysis adopted was descriptive statistics covering frequency count and percentage. The finding of the study revealed that the COVID-19 information needs as indicated by respondents were on general emerging news on COVID-19, COVID-19 prevention, ways of seeking medical help in the pandemic era, government policies on COVID-19, among others. It is evident from the finding that the preferred information sources on COVID-19 as indicated by the respondents are family members/ friends, mass media (Television, Radio, Newspapers, etc.), herbal doctors/ traditional healers, healthcare providers/ physicians, town criers, herb hawkers, pharmacist/ chemist, NGOs, books (print/ electronic), among others. The respondents indicated they use the COVID-19 information they seek to educate family members/ friends about current news on COVID-19, stop the spread of COVID-19 by observing precautionary measures, abide by government policies on COVID-19, understand how to seek medical help in the pandemic era, educate their kinsmen on preventive measures from the COVID-19 disease, among others. The challenges that militate against the accessibility and use of COVID-19 information as indicated by the respondents are too many fake news about COVID-19, too many contradicting information on COVID-19, non-availability of relevant information on COVID-19, communication/ Language barriers, government policies on COVID-19 are not adequately publicized, among others. It was recommended from the study that government accredited health agency platforms should publish COVID-19 information in both English and the local dialect of the rural people to ensure the information penetrate more in society. It was also recommended that researchers/ scholars and writers should desist from publishing fake and other irrelevant information on COVID-19.

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