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People's health knowledge requires a boost

By Lu Weimin/Wang Kan | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-20 07:04

[Photo/Agencies]

During the novel coronavirus outbreak, misinformation has fueled the spread of fear. Some people might be unsure of how to tell facts from rumors, so enhancing the public's health knowledge is a critical step to help people take the right protective measures and avoid unnecessary panic.

As the battle against the novel coronavirus continues to be waged, it appears that people's awareness of how to protect themselves from the virus and infection differs according to age, and whether they are urban or rural residents.

Based on the present epidemic situation, people's awareness needs to be upgraded.

For example, in the face of the epidemic, some people may feel panic to some extent because they are not aware that there are effective prevention and protection measures they can take.

Therefore, it is urgent that people's public health awareness is raised. To do this, a number of things can be done.

The education authorities should strengthen science popularization among the public especially among teenagers. For example, primary and middle schools should emphasize scientific education, and they could invite medical professionals to teach students about the scientific protection measures they should adopt.

As regards governmental departments, they can carry out projects to popularize health knowledge, and encourage people to participate in the move for improvement of the public scientific literacy, including in different townships, districts and communities.

In addition, relevant science and technology institutions also have the responsibility to innovate measures and set up coordinated systems to implement a health awareness campaign, so more people are aware of the benefits of scientific prevention and protection measures.

Since the improvement of public scientific literacy is of great significance and concern, medical and healthcare departments should learn the lessons of this epidemic, continue to build well-established and professional teams comprised of paramedic staff, particularly grassroots units that are dedicated to promote the public health literacy should be formed.

Science and healthcare institutions should pool their resources to meet the public's knowledge demand. They should establish and refine ways to boost the public's scientific prevention and protection knowledge.

Moreover, it is also important for healthcare institutions to diversify the channels for spreading scientific public health knowledge, and mull over effective policies to upgrade the mechanism to deal with emergencies, so as to ensure that it can swiftly respond to a public health emergency and provide authoritative information on the situation and the appropriate response.

Keeping the public apprised of specialized and scientific public health knowledge in a timely manner will help prevent public panic and contribute to the prevention of public health crises.

The author is deputy president of Tianjin Science and Technology Association. This is an excerpt of his interview with China Daily's Wang Kan. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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