Effective and timely communication of research results with relevant stakeholders maximize their impact. During a public health emergency it's also very important that the population knows how to respond and to protect themselves properly. Health authorities therefore need to provide messages to enable and empower the public to take appropriate action without feeding anxiety.

“How can we make messages that are meaningful and actionable? We are trying to address this issue and thereby hopefully contribute to future rounds of messaging for Zika in Brazil by asking women of reproductive age about their problems and concerns.

Prof. John Kinsman, Umeå University

Overall Objectives

The Communication and Dissemination group ensures that ZikaPLAN research results are available to external stakeholders. The group also aims to develop a communication strategy for patient and public engagement, including conducting qualitative societal research on perceptions of and reactions to Zika messaging in Brazil, and social messaging around personal protection against mosquito bites.

Specific Objectives

  • Promote awareness and uptake of the results generated by ZikaPLAN,
  • Leverage the impact of research results by wide-scale adoption and use of these results by stakeholders and by receiving stakeholder feedback on developments,
  • Create and maintain links and communications on behalf of the consortium with partners and potential future collaborators within Latin America, and globally,
  • Prepare for exploitation of IP protected project results,
  • Disseminate ZikaPLAN results to public health agencies, mainly throughout Latin-America.

Results and Achievements

  • In addition to developing all the basic communication tools to promote the ZikaPLAN initiative, the group has developed communication strategies and platforms to reach key ZikaPLAN stakeholders.
  • The research in this Work Package centers on the perceptions of and reactions to Zika messaging in Brazil. A comparative qualitative study was conducted in two cities: Jundiaí and Salvador. Jundiaí is a relatively affluent town outside São Paulo with a population of 400,000 people that experienced a small, largely hidden Zika epidemic. Salvador is the capital of Bahia State, has a population of around three million people and is Brazil’s third city. It was one of the centers of the Zika outbreak, and the impact of microcephaly in the lives of affected families received much media attention.

Sampling and findings

  • Focus group discussions were carried out with low, middle and high-income women of reproductive age.
  • In-depth interviews were conducted in lower and mid-level income neighborhoods with male partners of women of reproductive age.  
  • Health professionals working in a Primary Care Unit and in private clinics and also three religious leaders from Kardecism, Candomblé (an Afro-Brazilian cult) and an Evangelic Christian church were interviewed.

The overall observation regarding mosquito control in these communities is that people generally believe that they themselves are playing their part, largely to protect their own families. However, they also consider that others in their communities do not contribute as well as they ought to, and that the municipal authorities’ mosquito control activities needed to be reinforced. In other words, there is limited solidarity in what has to be – in order to be successful – a comprehensive and community-wide approach to mosquito control.

People appear to have other immediate priorities, and mosquito control is simply not their primary concern, however much they may dislike the insects. Thus, there is an urgent need for the municipal authorities to increase mosquito control, as well as for efforts to build stronger social capital and cohesion in the community.

Participating Organisations

Group leader: Koren Wolman-Tardy, Fondation Mérieux

  • Umeå University
  • All ZikaPLAN consortium members