Publicatie datum

Community engagement to tackle infectious threats: a viewpoint based on a social science mapping process in Bangladesh, Uganda, and Ukraine.

Jirovsky-Platter, E., Grohma, P., Naher, N., Rodyna, R., Nabirye, C., Dückers, M., Ahmed, S.M., Osborne, J., Kaawa-Mafigiri, D., Giles-Vernick, T., Kutalek, R. Community engagement to tackle infectious threats: a viewpoint based on a social science mapping process in Bangladesh, Uganda, and Ukraine. Journal of Global Health: 2023, 13, p. Art. nr. 03025.
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As a SoNAR-Global partner, the Medical University of Vienna coordinated data collection during March and June 2019 with partner organisations in three countries: BRAC University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Makerere University of Kampala, Uganda, and the Public Health Centre of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, Kyiv. Developing appropriate models for multi-layered, multi-sectored, dialogue-based engagement represents one pillar of SoNAR-Global.
Consequently, we performed a mapping and assessment exercise in 2019 as part of the project’s first steps, searching for existing models of community engaging (CE) targeting infectious threats and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We compared the identified examples with the UNICEF Communication for Development (C4D) Minimum Quality Standards for Community Engagement, which defines and narrows down the various understandings of CE and provides practical guidance for CE-based research and response activities, stressing that CE needs to be specific, localised, responsive, and bi-directional, and that top-down approaches must be avoided.
We broadly searched for health-related interventions, programmes, or projects on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or infectious diseases involving communities and seeking community feedback for programme interventions to gather online resources and information on CE activities that were solely available locally.

The aim was to understand the nature of these interventions: e.g. who initiated the campaign? What was the purpose of the CE project? Who was the involved public? Additionally, we looked at the form of inclusion and participation, the projected outcomes, and how monitoring and evaluation instruments were integrated into the CE.

We collected information on 41 projects; eleven aligned with the UNICEF Minimum Standards for CE – four in Bangladesh, four in Uganda, and three in Ukraine. Nevertheless, all projects lacked some elements of participation and two-way communication or did not conclusively define “community”.

Communities of all sorts could profit from additions to the well-developed UNICEF document, which was written for community engagement in general. Considering the recent experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, more attention should be paid to the specific circumstances in connection with infectious threats. Refining the UNICEF Minimum Quality Standards for CE accordingly would increase its impact in practice.