Blog/Opinion

Institutional and behaviour-change interventions to support COVID-19 public health measures: a review by the Lancet Commission Task Force on public health measures to suppress the pandemic

Author:
Jong-Koo Leea
Source:
The Lancet COVID-19 Commission
Contributor:
Publication Year:
2021
June 09, 2021
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

The Lancet COVID-19 Commission Task Force for Public Health Measures to Suppress the Pandemic was launched to identify critical points for consideration by governments on public health interventions to control coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Drawing on our review of published studies of data analytics and modelling, evidence synthesis and contextualisation, and behavioural science evidence and theory on public health interventions from a range of sources, we outline evidence for a range of institutional measures and behaviour-change measures. We cite examples of measures adopted by a range of countries, but especially jurisdictions that have, thus far, achieved low numbers of COVID-19 deaths and limited community transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Finally, we highlight gaps in knowledge where research should be undertaken. As countries consider long-term measures, there is an opportunity to learn, improve the response and prepare for future pandemics.

Introduction

The Lancet COVID-19 Commission Task Force for Public Health Measures to Suppress the Pandemic1 was launched in September 2020 to identify critical points for consideration by governments on public health interventions to control coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As countries consider long-term measures, there is an opportunity to learn, improve the response and prepare for future pandemics. In this paper, we review the evidence for two broad groups of public health interventions: institutional measures and behaviour-change measures. We define institutional measures as those strategies for pandemic control operationalised through four policy instruments: legal (e.g. acts and regulations); economic (e.g. public investment and subsidies); voluntary standards and guidelines; and information and education.2 Behaviour-change measures are implemented and maintained by restriction and coercion; persuasion and incentivisation; education and training; modelling; enablement and environmental restructuring, and are influenced by factors operating at the individual, community and population level.3 We cite examples of institutional and behaviour-change measures adopted by a range of countries, but especially jurisdictions that have, thus far, achieved low numbers of COVID-19 deaths and limited community transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

 

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