“HM Government is currently the biggest advertiser in Britain, figures released last week show, with advertising spend in the past 12 months up 237 percent to £163.9m. Public Health England has also spent £80.5m, up 796 percent. This is unsurprising during a public health crisis. [These numbers should be seen] against an industry background of advertising spend down 19 percent in the UK overall” (Private Eye, 3 April 2021)
The advertising referred to is a never-ending barrage of “good information”: health messages about good health practices, lockdown specifics, rumour- and misinformation-policing, and the like. All of this is essentially health information. Which begs the obvious question: if it is clearly recognized that information is essential in a public health crisis, why isn’t it recognized that information is essential in *all* public health endeavours, at all times? And yet this is a sector that has historically been severely underfunded.
One lesson to draw from the pandemic and associated infodemic is surely that Government spending on health information should rise by a few hundred percent across the board in all countries.
HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Global Health, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme at the University of Winchester. Formerly an NGO, Phi supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. Chris also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. He was the founder of the ExtraMED project (Third World biomedical journals on CD-ROM), and managed the Gates Foundation-supported Health Information Resource Centres project. He served on WHO’s Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. Chris has been a director of the World Association of Medical Editors, UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). UK-based, he is also building houses in Zambia. chris AT chriszielinski.com
His publications are at www.ResearchGate.net and https://winchester.academia.edu/ChrisZielinski/ and his blogs are http://ziggytheblue.wordrpress.com and https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ziggytheblue