|NOTE: This site will be updated as new materials become available - please bookmark and check back often - LAST UPDATE February 15, 2020
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement declaring that the coronavirus (officially called COVID19 as of 11 February 2020) discovered in China in December 2019 now meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The announcement led the way for official recognition of the deadly virus as a danger to all, and ministries/departments of health worldwide subsequently ratcheted up their efforts to prevent its spread.
For countries outside of China, the WHO directive states:
"It is expected that further international exportation of cases may appear in any country. Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection, and to share full data with WHO."
While development of a vaccine may be months in the making, there are immediate steps everyone can take to help prevent infection. For the foreseeable future (we will update this page if/when the situation changes), the advice from WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes promotion of improved hygiene practices, especially in countries where outbreaks have occurred; ensuring public availability of the most current and accurate information; active correction of misinformation; and elimination of stigma.
Social and behavior change (SBC) professionals are well positioned to address all three of these recommendations. SBC interventions can encourage proper hygiene techniques in food preparation, personal cleanliness, and contact with potentially infected persons. In many scenarios, this may involve significant behavior change and alteration of social norms. In addition, SBC efforts can address the correction of misinformation circulating in communities, and the reduction of stigma directed at those who have contracted the virus and other vulnerable populations.
We offer this Trending Topic as a starting point for those SBC professionals seeking examples of relevant project materials and resources, and encourage you to contribute to this collection by uploading your materials here or by writing to our curator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Wiesman, J. & Hasegawa, T. (2020, February 3). It takes all of us to reduce stigma during disease outbreaks. Medium.
- Fischer, L.S., Mansergh, G., Lynch, J., & Santibanez, S. (2019). Addressing disease-related stigma during infectious disease outbreaks. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 13(5-6), 989-994.
- Fidler, D. (2019, August 20). Disinformation and disease: social media and the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Council on Foreign Relations.
- Tumpey, A., Daigle, D., & Nowak, G. (2018). Communicating during an outbreak or public health investigation. In S. A. Rasmussen & R. A. Goodman (Eds.), The CDC field epidemiology manual [Online edition]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Hsu, Y., Chen, Y., Wei, H., Yang, Y., & Chen, Y. (2017). Risk and outbreak communication: lessons from Taiwan's experiences in the post-SARS era. Health Security, 15(2), 165-169.
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2016). Ending discrimination against people with mental and substance use disorders: The evidence for stigma change. National Academies Press.
- Cobb, L. (2014, November 12). What can be done to reduce stigma and help communities get beyond fear. Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs.
- Davtyan, M., Brown, B., & Folayan, M.O. (2014). Addressing Ebola-related stigma: lessons learned from HIV/AIDS. Global Health Action, 7, 1-4.
Banner photo: Downloaded from Wikimedia Commons on February 2, 2020 - Attritubtion: SISTEMA 12 [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]. File here