Laboratories created to monitor perceptions and build capacities for effective risk communication in Mexico
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PAHO country office in Mexico partnered with the Canadian Embassy in Mexico to promote the important role of perceptions about health and include a risk communication approach in the response to health emergencies.
Recognized for its active participation in the area of global health, the embassy provided technical and financial support to PAHO in Mexico to engage in collaborative dialogues and exchange information on the pandemic situation in other countries of the Region and the world. Through this collaboration, an international virtual forum was held on political aspects of public health in pandemic times, with an emphasis on analyzing perceptions in order to formulate communication strategies. The meeting was attended by leading academics and specialists from renowned international institutions.
In order to help build capacities in risk communication in health emergencies, PAHO and the Canadian Embassy conducted training activities for decision makers in the health sector, government spokespersons in charge of the response to the COVID-19 health emergency, and other high-level institutional actors.
The early and ongoing support of Canada's diplomatic mission in Mexico in emergency response was very innovative, and led to the creation of laboratories to monitor perceptions and risk communication at the national level and in all 32 Mexican states. The laboratories have been fundamental tools for building trust in the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as in the fight against the infodemic and misinformation.
This experience of strategic collaboration has also attracted the interest of other countries in the Region that wish to improve their capacity to monitor perceptions as an early warning mechanism. This capacity would make it possible to anticipate different types of behavior or responses when preparing for health emergencies, designing strategies for managing risk perceptions and communication, and strengthening decision-making processes.
Because of its willingness to innovate and its commitment to developing a strategic cooperation agenda on communication and perception management when faced with threats to public health, the Canadian Embassy in Mexico is an exceptional partner for PAHO. Its international leadership in health diplomacy will enable this initiative to be scaled in the Americas, with the potential to become a reference in this area of public health action.
For more information:
— Canadian Embassy in Mexico City