The coronavirus pandemic is definitely a bad thing. Sadly, people can make bad things even worse than they already are. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the coronavirus pandemic is unleashing “a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering”. He also provided several examples of how this pandemic is quickly becoming a “human rights crisis.”
TikTok isn’t only useful for practical health information—although doctors and nurses have been showing off some killer moves over the past few weeks, and reaching teenagers who might otherwise be missed by the UK government’s lacking communication strategy. It is also providing a sense of community, something that is more and more important as the possibility of lockdown looms longer, and digital spaces shift from being a secondary aspect of our social lives, to being a an essential space for maintaining social connections. For teenagers, this is particularly important.
Frequent and proper handwashing with soap is one of the most important measures that can be used to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, along with physical distancing, avoiding touching one’s face (eyes, nose and mouth) and practising good respiratory hygiene. However, like physical distancing measures, frequent handwashing with soap and water is next to impossible for huge swathes of the global population.
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.