European Public Health WEEK
17-21 May 2021
Joining forces for healthier populations
Monday 17 May:
COMMUNICATING SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Conveying accurate and accessible messages is crucial to promote healthy behaviours, particularly during a crisis. How can we better communicate complex health messages in the digital age?
Science communication; risk communication; crisis communication; public and patient involvement; Infodemic management; dealing with misinformation, disinformation, mal-information, conspiracy theories, rumours; building trust; vaccine hesitancy; novel forms of communication; fostering public health dialogue (two-way communication); communicating to politicians, health professionals and citizens; health literacy and digitally literate societies (e.g. digital contact tracing, telemedicine, e-health); open access research; World Telecommunication and Information Society Day
Planning an event or activity on this day?
Submit it here by 9 May 2021.
Official kick-off webinar with the WHO Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN) on 17 May at 10:30-12:00 CET: "Infodemic Management: Social listening to public health action". Learn more and register at https://tinyurl.com/InfodemicManagement
See other events taking place on this day.
- Dialogue and communication between researchers, practitioners, society and policymakers should lead to translation of the evidence into effective health policies. (Source)
- As societies grow more complex and people are increasingly bombarded with health information and misinformation, health literacy is essential. People with strong health literacy skills enjoy better health and well-being, while those with weaker skills tend to engage in riskier behaviour and have poorer health. (Source)
- Community members need their voices heard in the outbreak preparedness and response process, and must be seen by the authorities as genuine partners. (Source: ECDC)
- The public availability of COVID-19 intelligence is vital for battling the outbreak as efficiently as possible while supporting those in countries with limited research resources. (Source: EUPHA)
- Universal access to health information is a human right that we must all protect.
- “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic. Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus, and is just as dangerous.” (WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Munich Security Conference)
- “We need to get smarter in using the evidence and the information we have from our COVID-19 surveillance systems to improve the only way we have to minimise transmission: find, isolate, test and care for every case. Trace and quarantine every contact. Here, digital technology can play a leading role, not least to support contact tracing. Digital technology and artificial intelligence have also proved to be effective in other aspects of pandemic response.” (WHO/Europe Regional Director Hans Kluge)
- We need to integrate infodemic management into our health security preparedness and response plans so we can more rapidly flatten the infodemic curve to help flatten the epidemic curve.
- Digital health should be about empowering people:
- Integrating digital health must be done carefully and wisely, in partnership with the public and patients.
- Digital health interventions must consider the privacy and security of individuals and their data.
- We must address the digital gap because we cannot afford a digital divide on top of the social and economic divide. (Source: WHO)
- An infodemic is an overabundance of information – good or bad – that makes it difficult for people to make decisions for their health. (Source: WHO)
- Fighting misinformation, disinformation and addressing information gaps and confusing messages can protect our health, public trust, social cohesion and emergency response.
- With appropriate trust and correct information we can optimise the use of every health technology, including diagnostic tests and vaccines.
- Public health experts should act as mediators between policymakers and citizens, thus public health leadership and competences play a crucial role in fighting misinformation.
- Effective risk communication and community engagement ensures that risk managers, stakeholders and affected communities are informed and engaged at all stages of the risk assessment process so that they can make informed decisions. (Source: WHO)
- There are systems to monitor the safety and effectiveness of #COVID19 vaccine even after they are introduced.
- Vaccines usually take decades to develop. Thanks to global coordination and cooperation, this time vaccine trials moved very quickly and we had a number of approved vaccines in the European Union in less than one year from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: Oxford University)
FACTS & FIGURES
- COVID-19 is the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, informed, productive and connected. At the same time, the technology we rely on to keep connected and informed is enabling and amplifying an infodemic that continues to undermine the global response and jeopardizes measures to control the pandemic. (Source: WHO)
- The World Health Organisation defines risk communication as “the exchange of real-time information, advice and opinions between experts and people facing threats to their health, economic or social well-being with the ultimate purpose of enabling people at risk to take informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones”. (Source: WHO)
- Since 2018, a societal movement towards publishing all publicly funded research in Open Access journals and platforms has been ongoing, instigated by the Plan S initiative. This outbreak is a grim illustration of why it is important to make scientific knowledge as widely available as possible and at no charge. EUPHA strongly supports the current societal move towards open access, and we are working towards flipping our own journal, the European Journal of Public Health, towards full open access. (Source: EUPHA)
- Misinformation is inaccurate information, which may include kernels of truth and be shared by people who intend no harm. Disinformation is false or inaccurate information intended to mislead.
- Tips by the WHO for navigating the Infodemic, i.e finding trustworthy sources and reliable guidance on health issues. https://www.who.int/news-room/spotlight/let-s-flatten-the-infodemic-curve
- An ad hoc WHO technical consultation managing the COVID-19 infodemic: call for action [50 Global Actions to manage the COVID-19 infodemic] https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240010314
- Infodemic Health Topic: https://www.who.int/health-topics/infodemic#tab=tab_1
- WHO Public Health Research Agenda: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240019508
- True or fake? How to bring the analysis into policies and practices (EUPHA video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZcCa0tIby8&list=PLv5eq4ZCoNWsrbGCdo9XAMqi_1Fhhv6CG&index=6
- Statement by the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) on combatting COVID-19: the importance of sharing knowledge to create a comprehensive and publicly available evidence-base https://eupha.org/repository/advocacy/EUPHA_Statement_on_Combatting_COVID19.pdf
- How do we increase an understanding of health information in the general population? (interview with EUPHA Past President Martin McKee): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2Nknu8DPm4&list=PLv5eq4ZCoNWtrkgk4VDwmyj1a4zjr6rlt&index=6
- The Collective Service for Risk Communication and Community Engagement: https://www.rcce-collective.net/
- Behavioural considerations for acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines: WHO technical advisory group on behavioural insights and sciences for health, meeting report, 15 October 2020: https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/337335
- What are clinical trials and how do they help scientists find out whether a vaccine works and is safe? The WHO explains the steps involved in developing and testing a safe vaccine. Watch a video or visit the web page
- European Medicines Agency: COVID-19 vaccines https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/human-regulatory/overview/public-health-threats/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/treatments-vaccines/covid-19-vaccines
- Guidance on community engagement for public health events caused by communicable disease threats in the EU/EEA (European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention): https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/Guidance%20on%20community%20engagement-FINAL.pdf
- How to make a vaccine in record time (video): Oxford University https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddDiyIKUP0M
Download the key message document for this theme.