CCCs Rebecca Ryan leads WHO report on physical distancing

Dr Rebecca Ryan, Joint Coordinating Editor for Cochrane Consumers and Communication recently led a rapid review for the World Health Organization about measures to communicate about physical distancing during COVID-19.



Physical distancing measures have been implemented worldwide to contain the transmission of COVID-19, but how best to communicate with the public to promote acceptance, uptake and adherence to these measures is less clear.

This rapid review analysed evidence regarding communication with individuals and communities within the wider structural and sociopolitical context of the pandemic to support public health decision-makers when planning and implementing physical distancing measures. Findings indicated the critical role played by public communication and information in the pandemic response. Consistent features of effective communication included

·    clear, consistent and actionable content;

·    attention to the timing and currency of messages;

·    consideration of the audiences for communication within and across populations; and

·    deliberate considerations of tailoring and equity to ensure diverse population groups are reached and existing inequalities addressed.

Comprehensive practical support, including access to essential services and financial support, was also critical to promote acceptance, uptake and adherence to required measures. Findings also emphasized the importance of building and maintaining public trust in authorities and of engaging communities when planning and delivering messages related to physical distancing measures.

Read the full report [hyperlink to,-feasible-and-effective-approaches-to-promote-acceptance,-uptake-and-adherence-to-physical-distancing-measures-for-covid-19-prevention-and-control-2021]