Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) is an essential part of any disease outbreak response. In the context of COVID-19, the RCCE aims to enable real time information, exchange of opinions and advice between frontline health providers, community outreach workers and community members.
Key Principles of RCCE in COVID-19:
● Concise and focused: When people are scared or anxious about a particular disease, they have a hard time taking in and remembering lots of information.
● Give action steps in positives: Say In case of fire use stairs instead of do use the elevator. Ex. If you repeatedly say, “don’t take amoxicillin, don’t take amoxicillin, don’t take amoxicillin.” People eventually are just going to remember amoxicillin.
● Repeat the message: Reach and frequency. Research suggests that messages are more apt to be received and acted upon when the number of people (reach) and the number of times each person hears the message (frequency) go up.
● Personal pronouns: Pronouns personalize the message and help with credibility and identification. “We are committed to….” or “We understand the need for….”
● Use Plain Language: Jargon creates barriers. Instead of People may suffer morbidity and mortality say People exposed may become sick or die. Instead of epidemic or pandemic say outbreak or widespread outbreak. Instead of deployed say sent or put in place.
● Avoid speculation and assumptions: Avoid worst case scenario, stick to known facts.
Don’t’ fall for “what if”
● Avoid humor: People rarely get jokes when they are feeling desperate and vulnerable.