Coronavirus (1317) WHO global conference on communicating science during health emergencies (4) Observations

8 July, 2021

WHO global conference on communicating science during health emergencies. (Closing Plenary, June 25th 2021)

Dear HIFA Tribe.

On the last Friday in June 2021, I attended the Closing Plenary of the WHO Global Conference on Communicating Science During Health Emergencies.

The 3-hour session had speakers who shared insights on a range of concerns regarding the subject matter based on the role they actively play in science communication. A major advantage from listening to these speakers, I'd that they are seasoned professional speaking from their place of expertise in engaging with their various communities.

A few common, yet very important points raised by these speakers are:

-- The need to train and retrain science journalists/communicators and non-specialized journalists on reporting stories on health and science. In order words, it should not take a pandemic to equip our newsrooms or set up proper structures for sharing health and science stories.

-- Science is ever-evolving and also jargon heavy. As such, communicators would constantly need to share facts, talk about what changed and why it changed. Most importantly make it interesting and visually-appealing so that target audiences can find it easy to process.

-- When communicating science, we nerd to be audience-specific. The general public is no one and everyone. Our approach has to keep the target audiences in mind, especially those who may be disproportionately affected, like children, women, immigrants, and people living with disabilities.

-- The collaborative intelligence of researchers, the media, policy makers, communicators, journalists, healthcare workers, educators, and the public is essential for science to meet society or a subsection of it, where they are.

You can click to read the entire summary I made from this event:

As an afterthought, one question which is also a challenge to you and I is:

*how can we make science interesting, understandable, relevant and shareable with people who are offline, living with no access to smartphones, away from social media? *

If you are already doing this offline outreach, it will be good to hear from you.


*Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli*

Health Writer

Communicator || Biomedical Scientist || TEDx Speaker

2019 #PreventEpidemicsNaija Health Journalism Fellow

2019 Science Communications Fellow, African Science Literacy Network

2021 Mentee, Solutions Journalism Network

HIFA profile: Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli is a Medical Laboratory Scientist at DCL Laboratory Product Ltd. in Nigeria. Professional interests: Healthcare delivery, diagnosis, communication, brand storytelling. AT