This article, by Ajai Chowdhry and Arvind Singhal in the Hindustan Times, explains how to get all eligible Indians vaccinated for COVID-19. The need of the hour is to implement a comprehensive, coordinated, and coherent strategy — anchored in the principles of social and behaviour change communication.
As we deal with the complexities of this global health calamity and prepare for a post-COVID-19 world order, we believe that the discipline of communication is making, and will make, an invaluable contribution. In this spirit, as editors of this special issue of Journal of Creative Communications devoted to COVID-19, we are delighted to present this disciplinary offering that is rich in scope, international in nature, and theoretically and conceptually insightful in its tapestry.
This article outlines seven steps on how to encourage behavioral change that would reduce transmission of COVID-19. Some of the steps include: creating a positive social norm around mask wearing, communicating the benefits of mask wearing, needing responsible media, compassionate leadership, etc.
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 Washington Post conducted research which showed that using various text messages increased vaccine uptake. The same strategy could be used by state health departments to encourage teenagers and adults to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.
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.
This Wired article explains several ways we can let people know that we have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Some ways include: stickers or buttons, avoiding slogans that are scolding or aggressive, and slowly begin to relax masking for fully vaccinated individuals.
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.”
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.
This article describes the effects of a UN-supported system of emergency care centers to care for COVID-19 patients in Malawi, a country where many do not receive proper medical care due to their distance from medical facilities.
Centers were established at several rural hospitals across Malawi’s 28 districts, bringing COVID-19 healthcare closer to rural people who constitute 80 per cent of the population.
The UN also equipped 1,800 health workers with COVID-19 training and personal protective equipment (PPE). It has been regularly reaching over 14 million people with messages encouraging prevention and access to treatment for those who do not feel well. A network of volunteers from over 300 community-based organisations – together with community radio stations, community leaders, a toll free line, and mobile phone messages sent through a dedicated platform – are used to communicate with people in remote parts of Malawi about the dangers of COVID-19 and the benefits of vaccination.
This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Breakthrough ACTION Cooperative Agreement #AID-OAA-A-17-00017. Breakthrough ACTION is based at Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP).The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of Breakthrough ACTION and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, or Johns Hopkins University.