Table 2 Examples of community engagement approaches

From: Health systems resilience in managing the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons from 28 countries

Subdomain Snapshot of health systems resilience measures in reviewed countries
Countries with the least deaths per 100,0000, with a population of over 20 million Countries with the most deaths per 100,0000, with a population of over 20 million Countries in the middle category in terms of deaths per 100,000 population
Involvement in providing essential services Thailand: VHVs assess mental well-being of people in the community and refer to care if needed. They also undertake health surveys, collect data and maintain family health records to support the public health authorities during the pandemic. China: WeChat app was used to find volunteer drivers to assist people working in vital roles, like doctors and other healthcare workers. Brazil: in some communities, primary-care providers work with CHWs to conduct home visits, promote social distancing and continuity of health services for patients with chronic conditions in the community. Spain: Red de Cuidados (Care Network) was set up for volunteers to link up with the most vulnerable groups to help out with everyday tasks such as buying and delivering medicines from pharmacies to their homes. Liberia: the government worked with Last Mile Health to augment the National Community Health Assistant Program by providing training to CHWs to ensure continuity of primary-care services and reduce transmission from known cases. South Korea: Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters recommended assigning a community member as a local quarantine manager to coordinate with local officials.
Risk communication strategies for the community Uganda: the government engaged community members in COVID-19 hot spots to warn the public about the consequences of negative behaviors, given that fewer deaths and a lack of knowledge about asymptomatic cases led to reports of public complacency in adhering to public health measures. Thailand: the government deployed over 1 million VHVs to disseminate and amplify messages widely in communities. Mexico: utilized an innovative way of storytelling by using characters from Sesame Street to explain how the virus spreads and teach prevention measures like practicing good hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Peru: ‘El covid no mata solo. No seamos cómplices.’ (‘Covid does not kill alone. Let’s not be accomplices’) is a campaign launched to promote adherence to public health measures; incorporates advertising on television, radio, public roads, social networks, activations and urban interventions, among other forms of communication; incorporates regional and local governments, various actors from civil society and private companies. Russia: on social media, the Russian Ministry of Health launched a flash mob #ОборонаОтКороны (#DefenceFromCorona), which was supported by celebrities. The essence of the flash mob was to appeal to the citizens of the Russian Federation to adhere to the personal hygiene rules and to observe preventive measures during the spread of COVID-19. Egypt: the government has set up a communication center (website) where COVID-19 information is publicly available, including infographics on how to stop the spread of the virus and protect people. The government also provided a hotline for COVID-19 and a WhatsApp number to answer questions.
Government providing a channel for feedback on national strategies Thailand: online survey to monitor perception toward information, misinformation and knowledge, attitude and behavior of residents regarding misinformation on COVID-19 and assessing communication capacity. The survey showed that 82% of participants identified misinformation regarding COVID-19 in social media and that the Thai population had high trust in health agencies disseminating information. Sri Lanka: in April 2020, the government introduced a hotline for the public to submit complaints on difficulties in receiving essential services due to strict public health measures. The Operation Centre was tasked with following up on complaints and taking necessary action. United States: in collaboration with multiple federal agencies, the Census Bureau is undertaking a Household Pulse Survey to understand citizens’ experiences regarding employment status, food security, housing, physical and mental health, access to healthcare and educational disruption. Mexico: in April 2020, researchers from the National Institute of Public Health (INSP), the Government of Mexico City and mobile phone operators Movistar and Telcel, joined forces to carry out a study on how much the inhabitants of Mexico City adhere to measures of physical distancing and isolation; up to 200,000 mobile phone users will be invited weekly to answer a survey via text messages (SMS) on the behaviors observed in their homes. Japan: conducted an online survey in April 2020 to understand compliance with social distancing measures. Results were used to inform response strategies. New Zealand: conducted the COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing Survey to provide the government with information on how New Zealanders are coping, financial impacts and the level of understanding and compliance with regulations.
  1. Countries were selected according to the recorded number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants on 6 November 2020. VHV, village health volunteer.