Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) technical guidance by WHO RCCE action plan: COVID-19 preparedness - Page 3

• Revise your action plan according to the situation evolution. Note that your objectives and priorities may change over time depending on the evolution of COVID-19 outbreak (epidemiology) and people’s reactions to the response. • Coordinate and plan together with authorities and partners. To strengthen your preparedness, ensure effectiveness, and avoid duplication, it is important from the start to identify, meet, plan and coordinate with your partners, existing community networks and government counterparts. Remember that communities should play a major role as implementers and leaders in promoting individual and collective behaviour change to prevent and respond to COVID-19. • Proactively communicate and promote a two-way dialogue with communities, the public and other stakeholders in order to understand risk perceptions, behaviours and existing barriers, specific needs, knowledge gaps and provide the identified communities/groups with accurate information tailored to their circumstances. People have the right to be informed about and understand the health risks that they and their loved ones face. They also have the right to actively participate in the response process. Dialogue must be established with affected populations from the beginning. Make sure that this happens through diverse channels, at all levels and throughout the response. • Reduce stigma. Regular and proactive communication with the public and at-risk populations can help to reduce stigma, build trust and increase social support and access to basic needs for affected people and their families. Stigma can undermine social cohesion and prompt social isolation of groups, which might contribute to a situation where the virus is more, not less, likely to spread. Accurate information can help alleviate confusion and avoid misunderstandings. The language used in describing the outbreak, its origins, and prevention steps can reduce stigma. See WHO’s Guide to preventing and addressing social stigma for more tips (https://www.who.int/ docs/default-source/coronaviruse/covid19-stigma-guide.pdf). • Conduct early and ongoing assessments to identify essential information about at-risk populations and other stakeholders (their perception, knowledge, preferred and accessible communication channels, existing barriers that prevent people to uptake the promoted behaviors…) to develop your plan. Do not assume or take for granted local understandings and perceptions. Qualitative methods such as focus groups and interviews can produce rich, contextual information from a few people. Quantitative methods such as internet or telephone surveys can help characterize larger numbers of people, but with less context. Both approaches can help you systematically ask relevant questions that will shape your intervention strategy. As the threat of COVID-19 evolves, people’s knowledge and beliefs will change, so assessments will need to be ongoing to ensure that interventions remain relevant to people at-risk. • Ensure that all people at-risk of acquiring COVID-19 are identified, reached and involved. 3 | RC C E A C T I O N P L A N G U I DA N C E | C O V I D - 19 P R E PA R E D N E S S A N D R E S P O N S E