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Behaviour Change Model for Living with Covid-19

  • 15 Jun 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, Meghalaya has issued a new health protocol saying that it would consider everybody as an asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) carrier of Covid-19 ‘by default’ because it is the best way to prevent the threat of community transmission with migrants returning to the state from different zones.

Key Points

  • Behaviour Change Model for living with Covid-19:
    • The pandemic has resulted in two kinds of fear: fear for the loss of life and fear for the loss of livelihood, that is why the state wants to build a system through which people can protect themselves and carry out their livelihood at the same time.
    • People have to live with the coronavirus now and that could be achieved through what psychologists call the ‘locus of control’, or the extent to which one feels control over events in their lives.
    • As soon as people think that they could be Covid-19 positive, their entire behaviour changes and they become more cautious and feel responsible for their actions and thus help to reduce the risk of community transmission.
  • Implementation Method:
    • To implement this, there is a four-pronged plan that suggests testing everyone who enters the state, isolating them, stressing on behavioural change and finally training them.
    • Everyone in the state shall be treated as Category A patients unless they are tested on a continuous basis.
      • This implies living with the assumption that every person could be an asymptomatic, mobile carrier of the Covid-19 virus, with a probability of transmitting the virus to others unknowingly.
    • The Category A patients will have to follow three non-negotiable practices: compulsory mask-wearing, hand hygiene and social distancing.
    • For that, the health department of the state has built a series of training modules by dividing the entire population into three categories:
      • The elderly, who are above 65.
      • Those who have comorbidities (It is the presence of one or more additional medical conditions often co-occurring with a primary condition and is associated with worse health outcomes, more complex clinical management and increased health care costs).
      • The mobile group or the mobile workforce including students who are constantly on the move.
    • The Health Department will carry out the training with the help of identified master trainers and a certificate will be provided to all those who have successfully completed training.
    • The two main components of training include checklists and self-help diaries.
      • Checklists: A checklist, with a set of model questions which address topics such as hand hygiene, social distancing, respiratory etiquette, will be provided for all three groups. The checklist is designed in such a way that one can rate themselves out of ten based on their performance on that day.
      • Self-help Diaries: The senior population and those living with comorbidities can use these as a tool to monitor themselves. Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and Anganwadi teams will go to every house to train this section.

Way Forward

  • Behavioural change does not happen through scaring people and it can be hoped that constant repetition of these habits, using the self-help diary or checklist through appreciation and progress monitoring will lead to change.
  • In the healthcare field, behavioural economics can address concerns about optimizing people’s well being.
  • The shifts in responsibility will create a supportive environment that will remove fear and encourage compassionate care towards fellow beings.

Source: IE

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