Podcast sic!: Communicable disease

Even if the availability of the COVID-19 vaccines has increased, polls show that many Moldovans continue to oppose the immunization. “How to discuss with them?” This and other questions were answered by Dina Ivanov, consultant in strategic communication and co-founder of Qubo Communications, and Ion Grosu, specialist in communication, in the seventh episode of the podcast “That’s the way it is!” that is moderated by Andrei Lutenco and Eugen Muravschi. They spoke about the role of communication and communication campaigns, the effects of the contradictory information communicated officially and the gaps existing in communication and how they can be filled, IPN reports.

The podcast says the contradictory information provided by the authorities, especially at the start of the pandemic, fueled skepticism and confusion among the population. This didn’t happen yet only in our country. For example, in the UK, at the beginning of the pandemic, there were contradictions between the official restrictions and general public health recommendations. The authorities should make better effort to explain these decisions, to debate them publicly, if necessary, so as to eliminate confusion. It is also very important to ensure the single flow of communication, while the information should be provided in a centralized way so as to keep accuracy, stated Dina Ivanov.

Ion Grosu noted the actions and communication of the authorities should be primarily based on public health research. In such counties as the United States, Germany and France, there are very serious scientific institutions that deal with issues related to the epidemiological situation. Respectively, the governments of these states have institutional habits to listen to the advice of these scientists. In our country, this is done less.

Blame is often shifted onto communication, when the decisions are actually bad. Ion Grosu said such a decision like the one that banned walks in parks cannot be easily implemented and cannot be measured by anyone. Respectively, no one improves its implementation. The problem actually resided not in communication, but in decision making.

Dina Ivanov noted that when official communication is absent or the authorities contradict each other, information is taken from elsewhere. It is the case of the launch and conduct of the third vaccination stage. The people inform each other about the process through social networking sites that replaced official communication. The authorities should inform more about the values that unite than about those that divide, such as community spirit, empathy and aid for those around. These are values needed by the people not only in times of a pandemic.

The podcast can be listened to online. The project is financed with the grant provided by Soros Foundation Moldova from the “Phase II COVID-19 Response” Reserve Fund for assisting the Republic of Moldova in fighting the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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