Saturday, 3 April 2021

WHO EPI-WIN: An essential tool during Infodemic


WHO says ‘The right message at the right time from the right messenger through the right medium can save lives - misinformation or mixed messages can cost lives.’ 

A guest post by Aparna Rane

EPI-WIN is WHO’s Information Network for Epidemics. It was established following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and is a part of WHO’s Health Emergency Programme’s risk communication. It provides regular updates about the pandemic that includes accurate information debunking the myths from social media and avoiding misinformation for the public. 



But what caused a need for such an information network? The reason is with the Corona pandemic, another sector emerged simultaneously and has caused havoc around the world and it is called ‘Infodemics’. The term Infodemic first emerged during the SARS outbreak in 2003, which was termed as an outcome of the Information Epidemic i.e., Infodemic.

According to WHO, ‘Infodemics is an excessive amount of information about a problem, such as the new coronavirus COVID-19 that makes it difficult to identify a solution. Infodemics can spread of mis and disinformation and rumors during a health emergency, which can hamper an effective response and create confusion and distrust among people.’

EPI-WIN provides information pertaining to healthcare, travel and tourism, business, food, and agriculture sectors. With emerging information, the audience group will also keep on expanding with time.

EPI-WIN formation enabled to gather correct and timely information from trusted sources and put them together to reach people. WHO identifies these trusted sources which may be individuals, organizations, representatives, and employers, and disseminate EPI-WIN information to their networks.

 

The various sectors of EPI-WIN are as follows

1 Infodemic management

Infodemic management uses many skillsets to prioritize and problem solves the issue of too much and inaccurate information about the current COVID-19 infodemic. WHO has published ‘Public health research agenda for managing Infodemic’.

1st WHO infodemic manager training was conducted in Nov 2020 for awareness and training. Various events were also conducted which included the ‘WHO infodemic management conference’ and many others.

All these will definitely help every sector at every level to create awareness and the importance of information. The details of the previous and upcoming podcasts, events, training are available on here


2 EPI-WIN update
The first update of 22nd Jan 2020 started the process of EPI-WIN updates and which is still going on with the Latest update no 51(as on 09th March 2021). These updates have covered almost all aspects of the epidemics from the introduction of the virus and the epidemic to precautions, infodemic, vaccines, medication, social life, diagnosis, testing, the transmission of disease, long term effects of COVID-19, etc. Each article tries to give an insight related to the pandemic.

All details of the previous and upcoming updates can be read here


3 The Collective service

Initiated in June 2020, the collective service is a partnership between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Collective Service will support the delivery of the Global Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) Strategy, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019nCoV) Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, and the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan. The main four key approaches for RCCE are

1. Strengthen common and coordinated RCCE approaches

2. Generate real-time data on community perspectives

3. Improve the quality and consistency of community engagement approaches,

4. Strengthen the capacity of national governments, institutions and organisations, and reinforce local solutions.

The collective service will enable awareness at all levels in order to ensure safety for mankind. More information is available through webinars and weekly newsletters. Also, interested individuals for collective service can contact on the given link


4 EPI-WIN webinars

Various webinars are conducted by WHO for information and awareness of pandemic. These pandemic webinars have played an essential role in communicating information effectively at every level and all sectors of the industries. The series of the webinars include ‘SARS-CoV-2 virus mutations and variants’, ‘Overview of the COVID-19 pandemic ‘etc. Also, the webinar recordings are available here

5 Youth Engagement

Today’s youth have a very important role to play to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic at all levels in their respective countries. Their contribution will help in overcoming the hurdles during these times. So, WHO is partnering with youth networks and youth-led initiatives representatives to spread WHO’s recommendations and awareness programs. In order to receive notification for involvement and collaboration, connect here

More information can be found here


6 COVID-19 Transmission package

It gives various information through quiz, animation, and videos which includes topics such as protective measures, how is the COVID-19 virus transmitted? Contact tracing and breaking the chain of transmission, COVID-19 symptoms,and flu. More information is here


In order to have protection from corona infections, various informative videos and documents are made available which include publications, Q&A, MythBusters, events etc on its an EPI-WIN page, here . Also, there is EPI-WIN mailing list at the end of the page, subscription to this will provide us with all updates of EPI-WIN.

This kind of initiative will surely help in the present and also in future emergency situation around the world.

REFERENCE:

https://www.who.int/teams/risk-communication 

Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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