Whose pandemic fatigue?

first_img(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Far from being fatigued by pandemic warnings, the public is just beginning to hear the message. As planners, we’re the ones at risk of pandemic fatigue, as we slog our way forward.At CIDRAP’s “Business Preparedness for Pandemic Influenza Second National Summit” in Orlando this February, Editor-in-Chief Michael Osterholm used the term “pandemic fatigue.” Some in the audience understood him to mean that the public is getting tired of hearing about a possible future pandemic. But as Mike well knows, the public’s fatigue isn’t a significant problem yet. Our fatigue may be.Of course, the media suffer from periodic pandemic fatigue. If you don’t believe it, look at this graph of LexisNexis data showing general media coverage of H5N1.This isn’t an unusual-looking graph. Journalists are novelty junkies; they get bored fast. For a while, the risk of a pandemic was novelty enough for them. Then, inevitably, reporters started longing for a new angle. The one they found was: “Whatever happened to the risk of a pandemic?” That fueled some year-end stories. And it helped reporters gin up interest in otherwise run-of-the-mill January and February outbreaks, enabling them to report “Bird flu is back!” as if it had ever left.It’s a mistake to interpret the media’s cyclic boredom as the public’s fatigue.But those of us who are trying to arouse the public’s concern—and management’s concern—may be experiencing a bit of fatigue. I won’t speak for Mike, but I know I wouldn’t mind moving on to a different issue—if only we were further along on this one. I’ve talked to more than one health department planner and business continuity manager who expressed the same wish. It is a truism of mass communication that the source typically feels the message is getting old when the audience has barely begun to hear it. We should be careful not to project our own exhaustion onto the public.Which public are you addressing?The public, though, is really a lot of different publics. Here’s a quick-and-dirty audience segmentation analysis:Some are completely unaware. Far from being fatigued, they have yet to be reached at all.Some are aware, but haven’t really become interested yet. We just barely engaged them; we’ve got a toehold, nothing more.Some have given the issue real consideration, and now they’re digesting what they have learned. They may not be paying much attention at the moment, but when something new happens on the pandemic front, they’ll be interested again.Some are suffering from pandemic fatigue. They were interested; now they’re not.Some looked at the issue and decided we were wrong. They think H5N1 is a foolish distraction from more serious risks.Some have decided we’re right. They’ve even taken some pandemic preparedness steps. They’re converts and allies, and they’re hungry for more information.Some are active pandemic preppers and key information sources themselves for their neighbors and coworkers. They may see us as the laggards.We should be tracking the relative size of these groups much more carefully than we are. But my bet is that groups 2 and 3 are the biggies.It’s important to note that many in these two groups don’t understand the distinction between bird flu and pandemic flu. Some don’t know the word “pandemic” yet at all. Some who have learned the word think that the pandemic risk will come to them from birds. They are predisposed to overreact to diseased poultry and to underreact until diseased poultry are found nearby. And when news stories about bird flu outbreaks disappear for a while, it feels to them like the risk is gone. Some of what they’ve learned so far, in other words, is badly misleading.This pandemic audience segmentation, by the way, is grounded in Neil Weinstein’s precaution adoption process model, which lays out the stages any new risk goes through from ignorance to precaution taking. Weinstein’s main point is that the messages that work for people at one stage in the model are likely to be completely different from the messages that work for people at a different stage. As we try to figure out what people in groups 2 and 3 need to hear, it’s important not to confuse them with those in groups 4 and 5.Or even with each other. People in group 2, for example, almost certainly need to hear more about how bad a severe pandemic could be. People in group 3 may have heard as much of that as they need right now. Messages about what to do and why it can help might be a lot more useful in persuading them to bypass groups 4 and 5 and progress to 6.This audience segmentation is also consistent with what Anthony Downs has called the issue-attention cycle. When something happens that raises a new concern, people pay attention for a while. Their attention grows, peaks, and then falters. But it doesn’t retreat back to where it started. It settles into “the new normal,” a baseline level of awareness and attention higher than the previous baseline. The next time something happens, the public’s interest rises again, peaks again, and falters again.What follows is a series of peaks and valleys. The shape of this mountain range varies. It takes work and skill (and luck) to make sure the peaks keep getting higher, to build the public’s interest, concern, and willingness to act. What doesn’t vary is this: There are always valleys along the way.Slogging between teachable momentsI see four lessons here.Prepandemic communication—that is, pandemic precaution advocacy—happens most effectively in teachable moments. Sometimes you can create a teachable moment. Other times you need to wait, poised to strike, for the teachable moment.Between teachable moments, we have better things to do than bang our heads against the brick wall of public inattention. Keep up some baseline level of communication, so the issue doesn’t fall off the radar screen entirely. Other than that, focus on working with your fellow fanatics, the people who share your pandemic preoccupation (including those you successfully recruited during the last teachable moment). And focus on planning for the next teachable moment. What’s your plan for when H5N1 is found in North America? It will be a big teachable moment. Are you ready? And I don’t mean ready to reassure people about eating chicken. I mean ready to tell them about the real public health risk: a future pandemic.The pandemic audience is worth segmenting. Sometimes, like it or not, we’re stuck talking to everybody at once. But it’s often feasible to address different messages to the different audience segments. Knowing what each segment most needs to hear is a huge advantage.Pandemic preparedness is a slog. As Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at CIDRAP’s Orlando conference, it isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. When the public’s attention periodically falters, we need to sustain our own. It normally takes about a generation to get a new risk or a new precaution firmly onto the public’s agenda: Think about seat belts, smoke alarms, and radon. Think about smoking. Think about global warming! In fact, a lot of activists on other risk issues are frankly envious of the fast progress made by pandemic preparedness advocacy since H5N1 came roaring back in late 2003.Stay on guardWe rightly think the progress isn’t nearly fast enough. We rightly worry that we may not have a generation to prepare. We should do everything we can to hurry the process along. And we should remember that it’s a slog, moderate our expectations, pace ourselves, and stay on guard against our own pandemic fatigue.An internationally renowned expert in risk communication and crisis communication, Peter Sandman speaks and consults widely on communication aspects of pandemic preparedness. Dr. Sandman, Deputy Editor, contributes an original column to CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing every other week. Most of his risk communication writing is available without charge at the Peter Sandman Risk Communication Web Site, which includes an index of pandemic-related writing on the site.last_img read more

Sport gives us a lot more than we invest in it

first_imgMinister of Finance Zdravko Marić stated that about 2 percent of the state budget goes to sports. “We will all agree that this is not enough and that it can never be enough for all that sport as a country has given us. We should strive to increase financial resources, but I would always keep this position, if we were at the bottom in terms of money, and at the very top in terms of sports results. We have managed to increase our allocations for sports almost twice in the last few years, and we are currently working on directing the funds from games of chance to sports as much as possible, because it is the Olympic year and we must support all our athletes. Allocations for sports infrastructure are significantly increasing because the first steps towards success are being made here, so we currently have about 520 such infrastructure projects.”, Said Marić, noting that we must bring sport closer to all citizens.  “Sport is one of the world’s largest businesses. The global sports industry is worth about $ 500 billion, and is estimated to grow to over $ 2022 billion by 600. It is a huge financial cake in which Croatia has a disproportionately small share, compared to sports results. “, said the President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Luka Burilović at the conference All Faces of Sport – the complex role of sport in the economy, organized by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. They talked about sports as a tool for branding and promoting Croatia Vladimir Miholjevic, director of the CRO race, Miho Glavic, President of the Croatian Ski Association, Jerko Trogrlić, director of White and Kristjan Staničić, director of the CNTB.  Zlatko Mateša, the president of the Croatian Olympic Committee emphasized that this is the first time that we think about sport as an economic category. “It is an industry, like it or not, that weighs 280 billion euros in Europe alone. During the football World Cup in Russia, about 12 billion in tax revenues were realized, and otherwise in that period consumption is around 8 billion. Thus, the footballers contributed to spending with HRK 4 billion, or HRK 600 billion, which flowed directly into the budget. A fifth of our tourism is related to sports activities, about XNUMX million euros a year, which is what we want to show today”, Said Mateša, adding that sport also contributes to building a positive perception of the state. EURO 2020: MORE THAN HALF OF FANS PLAN TO TRAVEL TO WATCH THE TEAMS OF THEIR TEAM Mirjana Čagalj concluded the conference by saying that sport generates over 2 percent of GDP at the European level and that Croatia is below that average. “Our goal must be growth, and investments in sports and sports infrastructure will be crucial along the way. Everything we invest in sports will pay off many times over, through better health of citizens, their better productivity at work and higher salaries. All this will have a beneficial effect on the health care and pension system, but also on the labor market”, Said Cagalj.  Photo: Booking.comcenter_img He also emphasized that sport still brings us much more than we invest in it, and that the promotion of the country that we got through it is invaluable. “Thanks to last year’s World Cup for our country today they know in every corner of the world. We currently invest only 0,11 percent of GDP in sports, making us the last in the European Union. Therefore, with this conference we want to raise awareness of the importance of investing in sports infrastructure and professionals”, Said Burilović. RELATED NEWS: Deputy Mayor of Zagreb Olivera Majić countered Opara, saying that with an investment of 2 billion kuna a year, Zagreb is still the most sporty city in Croatia. “It is important to see how to strategically integrate sport into all complementary activities. It is high time that the promotion of sport is integrated into economic flows. The most significant economic effects sport generates in relation to tourism, trade and construction. It directly creates a business activity that has a high job growth factor, a significant element of an experiential economy and is successful in attracting talent. It strengthens local economies and provides excellent opportunities for marketing promotion ” State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism Tonči Glavina he spoke of the fusion of tourism and sport. “We try to address precisely segmented markets through our top athletes and we are very successful in that. About 7 to 8 percent of the total CNTB budget goes to sports and this is a big step forward from the current practice”, Glavina pointed out.  Split mayor Andro Krstulović Opara said that Split proudly holds the title of “the most sporty city in the world”. “Our Olympians, a total of 73 of them, won 96 medals. But I have to mention some scary numbers. In terms of allocations for sports, in 2016 Split allocated 69 million kuna, in 2017 about 72 million, in 2018 almost 98 million, and this year we will have about 93 million kuna. That’s 9 percent of our budget. For comparison, Zagreb invests about 7 percent of its budget in sports, but we are talking about a billion kuna. But despite that, our sport works, thanks to wizards from the profession who work miracles with little money”, Said Opara, adding that special attention and investments are directed towards the inclusion of people with disabilities in sports activities. last_img read more

Sierra Leone cancels Christmas celebrations

first_img 211 Views   no discussions HealthInternationalLifestylePrint Sierra Leone cancels Christmas celebrations by: AFP – December 12, 2014 Sharing is caring! Share Tweetcenter_img Share Share Freetown, Sierra Leone (AFP) — Sierra Leone said Friday it was banning any public Christmas celebrations as the spiralling caseload of Ebola infections continues to spread alarm.Soldiers are to be deployed throughout the festive period to force people venturing onto the streets back indoors, the government’s Ebola response unit said.Palo Conteh, head of the department, told reporters in the capital Freetown there would be “no Christmas and New Year celebrations this year”.“We will ensure that everybody remains at home to reflect on Ebola,” he said.“Military personnel will be on the streets at Christmas and the New Year to stop any street celebrations,” he said, without saying which areas would be targeted.While Islam is the dominant religion in Sierra Leone, more than a quarter of the population is Christian and public gatherings and entertainment are common during the holiday period.Conteh did not give the exact dates of the crackdown or list any exceptions. During previous local and nationwide anti-Ebola curfews, people were allowed out to worship and for “essential business”.Under current emergency regulations, bars and nightspots have already been shut down and public gatherings outlawed but there is no general ban on going outdoors or working.The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that 18,188 cases of the deadly virus had been reported across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, resulting in 6,583 deaths.Sierra Leone reported 397 new cases during the week ending December 7 — three times as many as Liberia and Guinea combined.Sources close to the government told AFP that details on the workings of the Christmas curfew would be announced shortly.The country now counts 8,069 Ebola cases, including 1,899 deaths, according to the latest figures.Sierra Leone has already quarantined around half its population of six million, sealing off districts across the country in a bid to combat the Ebola outbreak.The government imposed a two-week lockdown on the eastern diamond mining district of Kono on Wednesday after eight cases of Ebola were confirmed in one day.The WHO’s national Ebola coordinator Olu Olushayo said doctors and nurses were “at their wits’ end.”In the space of 11 days, two WHO teams buried 87 victims, including a nurse and an ambulance driver enlisted to help dispose of corpses piling up in the local hospital, the agency said.The government reacted with surprise to the WHO’s claims, however, saying Friday they did not tally with reports from the ground and announcing that investigators had been sent to assess the situation in Kono.Local media said officials at the district’s main public hospital in Koidu had also been taken aback by the reports.Aiah Beyonquee, the leader of the local burial team, told the state-run Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation no bodies had been stacked at the hospital.“On Wednesday we had about 10 alert calls for death cases in the community which we reacted to,” he told the broadcaster.“There were also five deaths in the hospital and all these were buried the same day.”last_img read more

McIntyre feels SU ‘moves boulder’ in coach’s debut season

first_imgSyracuse men’s soccer has started to move the boulder. So says first-year head coach Ian McIntyre. In the first season — a season in which McIntyre’s team was primarily comprised of newcomers — SU was simply making that first push. It was building a team, establishing a core, learning to play as a unit and slowly trying to set the boulder that is the SU soccer program in motion. Although McIntyre said the 2-10-5 season was ‘disappointing’ given the high hopes for the program, he realizes this season was just the first step. ‘There’s high expectations in this program and that’s exciting,’ McIntyre said. ‘We feel that we have a bright future. But you understand. You use the metaphor that you’ve got to get this boulder moving, and the hardest work is always that initial force required and then as things get rolling, things get a little easier.’ The team had the fewest wins of any SU team since 1971. It was unable to score in nine of its 17 games and amassed just 10 goals the whole season. But much of this disappointment is likely a result of the fact that this was a building year.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Coming into the season, 10 players on a team of 30 were returners. The team had no base to build from. The only way to describe the hodgepodge of returners, transfers and freshmen was ‘new.’ It was this newness that encompassed the team all season. There was an upside for many of the returners as they were given a fresh start, but on the field a lack of familiarity was apparent. For the transfers and the returning players, the new coaching staff and the changes to the team meant getting to start over. Particularly for the returners who endured a season of intra-team conflict over the ultimate firing of former head coach Dean Foti, the clean slate was important. Sophomore David Neumann said particularly after a bad season last year (3-15-0), it gave the players new hope. ‘Coming into the season with a fresh outlook, new faces, it was like we were starting over again,’ Neumann said. ‘Almost like it was my first year again, being able to start over.’ Yet the team had little time to mature, individually and together. It took some time for players to figure out where their teammates would be, junior Nick Roydhouse said. The communication issues often led to turnovers and kept the Orange from stringing passes together. During the course of the season, four freshmen got playing time. Brett Jankouskas and Robbie Hughes started most of the games. But having such young players can be challenging. McIntyre said they had to get used to the physicality and speed of college soccer, which takes time. The burden was placed on them to truck on anyway. ‘We’re a work in progress,’ McIntyre said. ‘We will continue to evolve as a team. A lot of young players got a lot of experience this year. … And perhaps players that we would have liked to have slowly introduced to our program and Division I soccer really had a baptism by fire this year.’ Looking ahead, however, the Orange has established its core group. In the offseason, Neumann anticipates the players will continue to work on getting to know each other. This will specifically take the form of ball work, to eliminate the communication issues. And with the season only over for four days, the team was already back on the field running. It struggled with fitness throughout the season and was unable to catch up given the short time between games. Next year there will be no excuses. As Roydhouse said, ‘You can never be too fit.’ So with the first push behind it, Syracuse continues to get that boulder up to speed. ‘We’ve got a really good core group now to work off,’ Roydhouse said. ‘Everybody kind of knows what’s going on. And it will be easier for new players to come and just to see what’s happening from the players that are already here so they can catch up and join them.’ alguggen@syr.edu Published on November 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more