Breakthrough ACTION developed a process and technology for systematically collecting, analyzing, and addressing COVID-19 rumors in real-time in Côte d’Ivoire. Rumors were submitted through community-based contributors and collected from callers to the national hotlines and then processed on a cloud-hosted database.
The authors of this article examine the different types of demands found in calls for public engagement in pandemic decision making and explain how to meet them. They focus on the responsibilities of governments because their decisions have far reaching social consequences, but institutions such as hospital systems, schools, corporations, and universities also make decisions that profoundly affect the communities they serve and should engage affected communities in their decision making.
The authors of this article believe that, “the intertwining spreads of the [COVID-19] virus and of misinformation and disinformation require an approach to counteracting deceptions and misconceptions that parallels epidemiologic models by focusing on three elements: real-time surveillance, accurate diagnosis, and rapid response.”
The aim of this study is to investigate public knowledge and perceptions of both the COVID-19 pandemic itself and COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among adults (aged 18 years and above) in 15 African countries.
This study will help identify knowledge gaps, beliefs and attitudes that can help inform Africa CDC as well as other immunization stakeholders in their strategies for supporting the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines in the continent.
The survey of public opinion was conducted in 15 countries across Africa between August and December 2020.
This paper describes the characteristics of an infodemic, which combines an inordinately high volume of information (leading to problems relating to locating the information, storage capacity, ensuring quality, visibility and validity) and rapid output (making it hard to assess its value, manage the gatekeeping process, apply results, track its history, and leading to a waste of effort).
This is bound up with the collateral growth of misinformation, disinformation and malinformation. Solutions to the problems posed by an infodemic will be sought in improved technology and changed social and regulatory frameworks.
One solution could be a new trusted top-level domain for health information. The World Health Organization has so far made two unsuccessful attempts to create such a domain, but it is suggested this could be attempted again, in the light of the COVID-19 infodemic experience. The vital role of reliable information in public health should also be explicitly recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals, with explicit targets. All countries should develop knowledge preparedness plans for future emergencies.
COVID-19 poses particular threats in low-resource settings, which typically have underfunded health-care systems and insufficient influence on the global health research agenda.
Strengthening research capacity must be embedded in research funding across LMICs to support the COVID-19 response now and to prepare to manage future infectious disease threats effectively. Such programmes need to be informed by local contexts and be driven by regionally and nationally identified priorities. Lessons learned in LMICs have global relevance and require global attention.
Increased research coordination is needed to improve the coherence of the research response affecting LMICs.
This paper explores the global south’s inequity of access to COVID-19 vaccines and related communication challenges. The paper also questions how we can split our focus to, on one hand, engage with communities to ensure they understand how vaccine prioritization will be made, to also then manage expectations of access, while still addressing the perception that the pandemic is over when vaccination begins.
The social impacts of COVID-19 have important implications to food security and, like many other social and environmental calamities, are not gender or spatially neutral. In many regions across the world, deep-rooted gender norms that devalue women’s unpaid domestic labor burdens also marginalize the health, nutrition, and decision-making power of women and girls.
This post highlights specific gaps in the ability of extension and advisory services (EAS) to address the needs of rural farmers, specifically women, that are increased during emergencies. For example, globally, women report lower access to extension services, as well as information and communication technology devices (radios, cell phones), risk-sharing networks outside of their communities (village savings and loan groups), household power to make decisions, and time to allocate to innovative and adaptive agricultural solutions. In addition, this post addresses the risks that such gender and place-based gaps present to rural food security and social stability, specifically in low- and middle-income countries.
To understand public attitudes toward taking a COVID-19 vaccine and the factors likely to affect willingness to do so going forward, the authors examined 39 nationally representative, randomized polls with publicly available tabulations that were conducted between August 2020 and February 2021.
This article discusses a Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) survey concerning Mozambique Community Health Workers’ knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes and appropriate mitigation measures. The results from the survey were used to develop COVID-19 awareness and education materials.
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