Launch of the WHO compilation of innovative concepts to communicate science during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of translating science in a timely and accessible manner to different audiences. As the pandemic progressed, the evidence evolved and resulted in changing public health recommendations. In times of such high uncertainty, people require answers to how to best protect themselves and their close ones.

Journalists, health care workers, religious leaders, teachers, parents and others played an instrumental role in translating science to their communities. Likewise, researchers were key to communicate their findings and explain the underlying scientific process to various audiences. Throughout the pandemic, individuals and organizations designed innovative concepts to distill the latest science and make it meaningful and understandable to their respective communities.

WHO has compiled case studies to showcase the creative yet rigorous approach of several science communication initiatives worldwide. The examples were collected through an open call that received 78 submissions. All examples were reviewed by two members of the WHO science translation team and analysed as regards to their (i) scientific accuracy, (ii) innovation factor, (iii) consideration of gender, equity and human rights aspects, and (iv) evaluation of their impact. Selected submissions were consequently written up as case studies in close collaboration with the originators of the initiatives.

The launch features the 20 most highly rated good practice examples including initiatives directed at the health workforce, media representatives, researchers and the public including older people and children and adolescents. Featured examples showcase the impressive creativity with which science communicators make the science behind COVID-19 more accessible, understandable and meaningful to their audiences. The cases range from serious games and chatbots to evidence summary platforms and animation videos.

The case study compilation can be accessed here.