WHO news release: JRC and WHO join forces to use behavioural insights for public health (2)

14 November, 2021

Thanks Neil for this and the previous related posting. It stopped me in my tracks, and I appreciate the chance to pause and consider your comments. I have not yet come to any conclusions, as I am still pondering the ethical dimensions of the issues you have raised. This topic might well make a great discussion focus for the future, so that we consider together the issues in a concentrated time period. Among my thoughts are: is health information neutral and if so, in what circumstances? What enables and restrains the framing and delivery of trustworthy and reliable health information in low and middle income countries, and even in the high income ones? (they are in relationship to each other, not isolated and therefore an overview comes to mind of all three income categories). If it is neutral or framed as trustworthy and reliable rather than neutral, in what ways are we designing it so that it is never manipulative but sometimes persuasive as we draw from good communication practices to deliver health information? As a health activist and sociologist, I look at behavioural science with both interest and scepticism - there are good players (and great ideas) in the mix but so are those whose work needs to be challenged.

A strength of HIFA is that you and others keep us focused on what we are about - I appreciate that, and this opportunity to ponder both reassuring and unsettling deas about the use of behavioural insights for public health.

solidarity and compassion!


HIFA profile: Ann Lawless is a sociologist and patient representative, currently based in Australia. She has worked in a community health centre as a health worker, has taught health issues at university level including Indigenous health; and has an active and long term interest in health advocacy. She is a member of the HIFA-WHO working group on Learning for quality health services.



Email: lawlesszest AT yahoo.com