“Human behavior plays a central role in reducing the spread of coronavirus. Communication by
government entities and other trusted sources about desirable or mandated behaviors during the
pandemic is critical. As policymakers, funders, and program staff, it is our responsibility to ensure that communications are clear, concise, and accurate. We can go one step further withmessaging that is behaviorally informed, contextually relevant, and communicated through novel delivery channels. Effective communication will ensure that everyone hears, understands, and follows guidance necessary for COVID-19 mitigation.”
Changing behaviour is not easy. However, there are many strategies to help people change behaviour that focus on increasing motivation, capability and/or opportunity to perform the behaviours. Here we focus on strategies that improve motivation or capability.
In the current global pandemic, there is a lot that can be learned from past epidemics. What is poignantly missing, however, is acknowledgement of local perspectives to disease outbreak and response. Jeremy Allouche and Dienedort Wandji argue we need to better understand how individuals and local communities in Africa, and beyond, have learnt and developed social, cultural and institutional mechanisms to deal with protracted crises.
On 8 May 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly officially declared: ‘The world and all its peoples have won freedom from smallpox.’ The declaration marked the end of a disease that had plagued humanity for at least 3 000 years, killing 300 million people in the 20th century alone.