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How do we engage people in testing for COVID-19? A rapid qualitative evaluation of a testing programme in schools, GP surgeries and a university

How do we engage people in testing for COVID-19? A rapid qualitative evaluation of a testing programme in schools, GP surgeries and a university
How do we engage people in testing for COVID-19? A rapid qualitative evaluation of a testing programme in schools, GP surgeries and a university
Background: the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) emphasises the need for high levels of engagement with communities and individuals to ensure the effectiveness of any COVID-19 testing programme. A novel pilot health surveillance programme to assess the feasibility of weekly community RT-LAMP (Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification) testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus using saliva samples collected at home was developed and piloted by the University of Southampton and Southampton City Council.

Methods: rapid qualitative evaluation was conducted to explore experiences of those who took part in the programme, of those who declined and of those in the educational and healthcare organisations involved in the pilot testing who were responsible for roll-out. This included 77 interviews and 20 focus groups with 223 staff, students, pupils and household members from four schools, one university, and one community healthcare NHS trust. The insights generated and informed the design and modification of the Southampton COVID-19 Saliva Testing Programme and the next phase of community-testing.

Results: discussions revealed that high levels of communication, trust and convenience were necessary to ensure people’s engagement with the programme. Participants felt reassured by and pride in taking part in this novel programme. They suggested modifications to reduce the programme’s environmental impact and overcome cultural barriers to participation.

Conclusions: participants’ and stakeholders’ motivations, challenges and concerns need to be understood and these insights used to modify the programme in a continuous, real-time process to ensure and sustain engagement with testing over the extended period necessary. Community leaders and stakeholder organisations should be involved throughout programme development and implementation to optimise engagement.
COVID-19 testing, Community engagement, Rapid qualitative evaluation
1471-2458
305
Watson, Daniella
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Laverty baralle, Natalia
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Alagil, Jawahr, Hamad
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Anil, Krithika
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Ciccognani, Sandy
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Dewar-Haggart, Rachel
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Fearn, Sarah
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Groot, Julia
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Knowles, Kathryn
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Meagher, Claire
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McGrath, Carmel
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Muir, Sarah
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Musgrove, Joanna
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Glyn-Owen, Kate Anne
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Woods-Townsend, Kathryn
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Mortimore, Andrew
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Roderick, Paul
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Baird, Janis
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Inskip, Hazel
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Godfrey, Keith
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Barker, Mary
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Watson, Daniella
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Laverty baralle, Natalia
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Alagil, Jawahr, Hamad
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Anil, Krithika
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Ciccognani, Sandy
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Dewar-Haggart, Rachel
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Fearn, Sarah
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Groot, Julia
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Knowles, Kathryn
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Meagher, Claire
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McGrath, Carmel
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Muir, Sarah
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Musgrove, Joanna
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Glyn-Owen, Kate Anne
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Woods-Townsend, Kathryn
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Mortimore, Andrew
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Roderick, Paul
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Baird, Janis
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Inskip, Hazel
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Godfrey, Keith
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Barker, Mary
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Watson, Daniella, Laverty baralle, Natalia, Alagil, Jawahr, Hamad, Anil, Krithika, Ciccognani, Sandy, Dewar-Haggart, Rachel, Fearn, Sarah, Groot, Julia, Knowles, Kathryn, Meagher, Claire, McGrath, Carmel, Muir, Sarah, Musgrove, Joanna, Glyn-Owen, Kate Anne, Woods-Townsend, Kathryn, Mortimore, Andrew, Roderick, Paul, Baird, Janis, Inskip, Hazel, Godfrey, Keith and Barker, Mary (2022) How do we engage people in testing for COVID-19? A rapid qualitative evaluation of a testing programme in schools, GP surgeries and a university. BMC Public Health, 22 (1), 305, [305]. (doi:10.1186/s12889-022-12657-4).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) emphasises the need for high levels of engagement with communities and individuals to ensure the effectiveness of any COVID-19 testing programme. A novel pilot health surveillance programme to assess the feasibility of weekly community RT-LAMP (Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification) testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus using saliva samples collected at home was developed and piloted by the University of Southampton and Southampton City Council.

Methods: rapid qualitative evaluation was conducted to explore experiences of those who took part in the programme, of those who declined and of those in the educational and healthcare organisations involved in the pilot testing who were responsible for roll-out. This included 77 interviews and 20 focus groups with 223 staff, students, pupils and household members from four schools, one university, and one community healthcare NHS trust. The insights generated and informed the design and modification of the Southampton COVID-19 Saliva Testing Programme and the next phase of community-testing.

Results: discussions revealed that high levels of communication, trust and convenience were necessary to ensure people’s engagement with the programme. Participants felt reassured by and pride in taking part in this novel programme. They suggested modifications to reduce the programme’s environmental impact and overcome cultural barriers to participation.

Conclusions: participants’ and stakeholders’ motivations, challenges and concerns need to be understood and these insights used to modify the programme in a continuous, real-time process to ensure and sustain engagement with testing over the extended period necessary. Community leaders and stakeholder organisations should be involved throughout programme development and implementation to optimise engagement.

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BMC Public Health_ Saliva testing paper v8 - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 27 January 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 14 February 2022
Published date: 14 February 2022
Additional Information: Funding Information: This project was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Funding Information: The authors would like to thank the participants for their time and interest in the interviews and focus groups. We would also like to thank the Southampton COVID-19 Testing Pilot Programme team for their help with recruitment and data collection, the University of Southampton, Southampton City Council and University Hospital Southampton for their support with evaluating the programme, and the Department of Health and Social Care for funding the project. Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s). Copyright: Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: COVID-19 testing, Community engagement, Rapid qualitative evaluation

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 454690
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/454690
ISSN: 1471-2458
PURE UUID: 812c877e-2a07-447b-a525-13d3d48a34e6
ORCID for Krithika Anil: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8027-1665
ORCID for Rachel Dewar-Haggart: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3757-1152
ORCID for Kathryn Woods-Townsend: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3376-6988
ORCID for Paul Roderick: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9475-6850
ORCID for Janis Baird: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4039-4361
ORCID for Hazel Inskip: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8897-1749
ORCID for Keith Godfrey: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4643-0618
ORCID for Mary Barker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2976-0217

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Feb 2022 17:35
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:06

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Contributors

Author: Daniella Watson
Author: Natalia Laverty baralle
Author: Jawahr, Hamad Alagil
Author: Krithika Anil ORCID iD
Author: Sandy Ciccognani
Author: Sarah Fearn
Author: Julia Groot
Author: Kathryn Knowles
Author: Claire Meagher
Author: Carmel McGrath
Author: Sarah Muir
Author: Joanna Musgrove
Author: Kate Anne Glyn-Owen
Author: Andrew Mortimore
Author: Paul Roderick ORCID iD
Author: Janis Baird ORCID iD
Author: Hazel Inskip ORCID iD
Author: Keith Godfrey ORCID iD
Author: Mary Barker ORCID iD

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