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Abstract

The study assessed the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the access to health information by the elderly persons in Edo State, Nigeria. The descriptive research design was adopted for the study. The main population of the study are elderly persons in Edo Central, Edo State, Nigeria. Edo central comprises a total of 33,499 elderly people ages 65 years and above. Purposive sampling technique was used to select 500 respondents from the 5 local government areas in Esan Central. The instrument used for data collection in this study was a structured interview and questionnaires by the researchers and five research assistants. The findings revealed that the elderly persons in Edo Central, Nigeria seek health information to learn more about the COVID-19 disease/ other diseases, to get treatment options, to understand drugs prescription, to get current data on the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. The findings further revealed that the elderly access health information from family members/ relatives, mass medias (TV, Radio, and Newspaper etc.), friends, via telephone call to a physician, herbalist/ traditional medicine doctors, and age group meetings, among others. The finding clearly showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected negatively the access to health information as indicated by majority of the elderly persons that took part in the study. The findings revealed that restriction of movement due to COVID-19, low health literacy, inadequate support from government to boost access to health information, shy to disclose their health problems or illness to others, poor information retrieval skills were the major barriers that affect the access to health information by the elderly. It was recommended that medical practitioners should carry out routine extension services to cater for vulnerable elderly persons especially in rural communities and family members and relatives that care for the elderly should be ready to answer health related questions whenever they arises from their older adults at home.

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