Panel discussion at WHO ad hoc consultation on community-centred approaches to health emergencies

CCOUC Director Prof Emily Chan participated as a panelist in a group discussion on community-centred initiatives in this stage of readiness of the health emergency cycle in the World Health Organization ad hoc consultation on community-centred approaches to health emergencies including COVID-19 on 31 March 2021 via Zoom.

This global consultation aimed to promote a rethink of the role of communities in prevention, detection, response and recovery interventions during outbreaks of new and re-emerging infectious diseases. Drawing on experiences of COVID-19 and other disease control efforts, the event signposted the vital role of trust, agency, social cohesion, plural forms of knowledge and resilience for inclusive, people- and community-centred approaches to preparedness and response. Topics covered included best practice for preparedness, community-based disease surveillance, transmission prevention (including contact tracing and quarantine), infection control and prevention, and care provision in community settings. A key outcome was to specify the evidence needs and research agenda to drive and better support community-led initiatives, programmes and responses.

The meeting has identified knowledge gaps and evidence needs that can be addressed through interdisciplinary or social science research; promoted understanding of the experience gained through local, regional, and national approaches, strategies and initiatives for inclusive, people- and community-centred responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious disease outbreaks; and inspired new perspectives to tackling pandemic challenges through citizen engagement and participation.

The video recordings of the ad hoc consultation can be found here.