WHO has developed and made available online a tool for behavioural insights on COVID-19

A WHO tool for rapid, flexible and cost-effective monitoring of public knowledge, risk perceptions, behaviours and trust is now available to countries in the WHO European Region to make their COVID-19-related response relevant and actionable.

The outbreak is placing an overwhelming burden on health systems and authorities to respond with effective and appropriate interventions, policies and messages. One of the most critical elements of reducing virus transmission is public behaviour.

For crisis response measures to affect public behaviours, they need to be perceived as consistent, competent, fair, objective, empathetic or sincere. They also need to be easily understood and communicated through trusted people and accessible channels.

To succeed with this, it is critical to gain an understanding of issues such as:

  • trust in health authorities, recommendations and information;
  • risk perceptions;
  • acceptance of recommended behaviours;
  • knowledge;
  • barriers/drivers to recommended behaviours;
  • misperceptions; and
  • stigma.

The newly established Insights Unit at WHO/Europe has developed a tool which:

  • is evidence-based;
  • can be rapidly applied;
  • can be regularly applied;
  • is simple and flexible to adjust to the changing situation; and
  • is low cost and cost effective.

The tool is freely available to all. It has been developed in collaboration with the University of Erfurt, Germany, and the COSMO group, a consortium set up for such research.

The Insights Unit and the WHO Health Emergencies Programme are offering support to countries for implementation of the research tool. For more information, contact:

Katrine Bach Habersaat
Email: habersaatk@who.int

Martha Scherzer
Email: scherzerm@who.int

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