Written By: Eva Rosen, Program Specialist, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs hosted speakers from UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, and Breakthrough ACTION for a webinar on the ways they are using the COVID Behaviors Dashboard in their work.
Tom Black is a Senior Program Officer in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Delivery Program. He tracks vaccine doses delivered and received, among other critical data points. Black and his team noticed that efforts to deliver vaccines to sub-Saharan Africa were especially successful in Angola and Mozambique. The COVID Behaviors Dashboard indicated that these countries had high COVID-19 risk perception and high trust in government authorities. These insights are helping inform future vaccine distribution efforts by allowing Black’s team to understand the social environments of high-performing countries.
Helena Ballester Bon, a Social and Behavioral Change Specialist in UNICEF’s Eastern and South African Regional Office, leverages the dashboard’s data on structural barriers to vaccination to advocate for increasing access to vaccination sites and lengthening hours of operation. She is also working on country-level measures to subsidize transportation to vaccination sites and move vaccination sites to more heavily trafficked locations like markets and churches.
A Senior Program Officer for Breakthrough ACTION in the Philippines, Cathy Church-Balin uses the dashboard to inform her team’s current activities. Based on vaccine resistance data from the dashboard and her own sources, Church-Balin is targeting seniors and people who support seniors with vaccine messaging efforts. She is also closely watching COVID-19 risk perception data. High levels of fear about COVID-19 are affecting people’s willingness to return to work and school in the Philippines. Her team is shifting messaging to strengthen people’s self-efficacy, or confidence, to resume activities safely.
Reporting to the Public
Gustavo Berganza is a communication consultant with Breakthrough ACTION in Guatemala. The main goal of his work is to create a communication environment that promotes COVID-19 prevention behaviors and vaccination. This requires his team to form alliances with health workers, journalists, and religious and community leaders to disseminate information to the public and help individuals overcome vaccine hesitancy and fight misinformation.
Berganza offers workshops that train journalists to pull from factual sources when reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID Behaviors Dashboard provides a trustworthy source of data on public opinion trends towards COVID-19 and vaccination. “Journalists have a hunger for data. They love the stories that are based in numbers,” said Berganza, citing vaccine resistance and structural barriers to vaccination as especially interesting data points.
With its utility and ease of use, the COVID Behavior Dashboard has great potential for public health professionals. Download the webinar slides and recordings in English, Spanish, and French.