Public and Community Engagement Response to COVID-19

Funded by: OUCRU (Wellcome funding)

Principal Investigator: Mary Chambers

Location: Vietnam, Indonesia and Nepal


Building trust in a time of public health crisis through public and community engagement, including:

  1. Building dialogue between public and experts
  2. Listening to communities
  3. Empowering communities through knowledge transfer

Notable outputs to date:

Dialogue | 2020

  • ‘Online science debates’ – engaging Vietnamese young people and scientists to use debate as a tool for discussing health science-related topics. Viet Nam
  • ‘Hear the Expert’ – EOCRU and The Conversation Indonesia. Live stream discussion between scientists and the public. April 21, 2020
  • ‘How to overcome stress during the pandemic season for Healthcare Workers – Online Workshop’ – OUCRU and Healthcare Improvement Research (CHIR) and Wake up Schools. Live stream workshop discussion stress factors of Healthcare Workers and introducing the practice of mindfulness to reduce their stress. April 5, 2020. Viet Nam
  • ‘Ask the Scientists’ – OUCRU Schools Engagement team. Online ‘chats’ between schoolchildren and scientists. Viet Nam
  • ‘Covid-19: Truths and Myths’ – OUCRU and British Embassy Viet Nam, live stream Q&A between experts and the public. June 9, 2020: Prof Jeremy Day and Nguyen Thanh Ha. Viet Nam
  • ‘Working together to beat Covid-19: engaging and involving patients and public’ – Cochrane Training Webinar Series. June 11, 2020: Dr Mary Chambers
  • Virtual Tea Talk Series ’COVID19: Truth and Myths’, Interactive session with students June 20, 2020 and with/communities July 7, 2020 – Nepal
  • COVID Experience sharing sessions with frontline workers of OUCRU-NP (first session on July 5, second session July 17, third session July 28, fourth session July 30) – Nepal.
  • Workshops for young people exploring the avenues through which news is disseminated and developing skills for assessing the strength of the news being shared – Viet Nam:
    • “Science against fake news” Ho Chi Minh City, June 26, 2020- equipping junior students with skills to recognise fake news.
    • “Combating Covid-19 related fake news”, Ho Chi Minh City, July 25, 2020 – improving health literacy for young people (facilitated by Media and Communication Officer. University of Social Science and Humanities)


Dialogue | 2021

  • Webinar: ‘The Lived experience of Frontline Health Workers’, CONNECT/The Global Health Network Research in Focus Lecture, January 26, 2021: Sarita Pyatha (Nepal)
  • Digital Diaries Video Screening at OUCRU (7th March 2021) and with Medical Doctors at Teaching hospital (March 30, 2021) Nepal
  • Tea Talks in the community about COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy. (‘Working together to beat Covid-19: engaging and involving community and experts’). First session on April 5, 2021, second session April 15, 2021 – Nepal
  • Tea Talk Session in the community about Post Covid-19 Scenario and Vaccination along with ward members and Tole health workers. Nepal
  • ‘Covid-19 Vaccine: A discussion’ – OUCRU, British Embassy Viet Nam, WHO, and Unicef, livestream Q &A between experts and the public. With Dr Kidong Park, Rana Flowers, Marcus Winsley, Prof. Jeremy Day and Dr Tu Van. April 29, 2021 Viet Nam
  • Virtual Tea Talks Series with OUCRU staff, in collaboration with the Patan Hospital Psychiatric Department: A series of programs to address mental health issues in the workplace: Tea talks (informal program) aimed at helping to reduce stress and sharing experiences, walk-in counselling sessions (formal support). May – June 2021 Nepal
  • Podcast Healthcare Wecare, in collaboration with PE Youth Science Ambassadors: A series of podcasts have developed featuring conversations between youth and health experts to support mental health of Vietnamese young people in the time of social isolation and for the new normal
  • Video screening on “Understanding COVID-19 testing”, 30 November 2021. Targeted audiences: Lalitpur community, Nepal


Listening to communities | 2020

  • Schools Photo Competition – Photo and caption about the learning experience in Covid-19 lockdown Viet Nam
  • Advisory group meeting: HTD healthcare workers. June 10, 2020 Viet Nam

Listening to communities | 2021

  • ‘Voice of science’ – A digital youth engagement platform to put science at the heart of Vietnamese young people as well as to collect their perspectives and recommendations for good health research activities. Viet Nam
  • Digital Diaries (personal stories from health care workers and community members of their Covid-19 experiences): The process included online introductions, trainings, technical and editing support to utilise photos, scripts, and videos to share stories and reflections of some of the challenges and positive experiences during this time. Viet Nam, Nepal and Indonesia
    • Outputs from three countries:


      • Organised 04 online introductions to 04 community members from HCMC in the last 4 months
      • Developed 02 new digital stories with participants using video participatory method 
      • Plan to organise 01 online screening on the 8th of January, 2022 for online community through OUCRU Facebook page.


      • Participated by 13 health care workers and 23 community representatives from 3 sites (Jakarta, Bandung and Sumba)
      • Collected 151 stories with 7 themes
      • Organised 1 direct community screening in Sumba and online exhibition through Instagram platform (Stories from the Islands)
  • Health Research Advisory Board: Meeting with community members about “Covid-19 research at OUCRU and community’s concerns”. October 20, 2021: Associate Professor Le Van Tan and Dr Lam Minh Yen and 11 advisory community members. Vietnam
  • Hospital Radio: Broadcasting the radio in HTD with a series about “spreading the love and positivity in life” to thank the health workers and help to reduce stress amongst the health workers and patients during the lockdown. Vietnam
  • Awareness Video on “Maintaining the Physical Distance in office premises” on social media by OUCRU-NP. Nepal
  • Awareness Video on “Understanding Covid-19 Testing”: A video on the how results are analysed for Covid-19 test and CT value. Nepal

Listening to communities | 2022

  • Digital Diaries, Vietnam
    1. Organised 01 online screening on 8th January, 2022 for online community through OUCRU Facebook page.

Knowledge transfer | 2020

  • Articles for The Conversation newspaper – EOCRU – Indonesia
  • Poster ‘How to protect yourself from Covid-19’ – OUCRU NP – Nepal
  • WHO ‘Myth Busters’ for social media – in Vietnamese and Nepali OUCRU & OUCRU NP
  • Animations for social media: ‘Coping with stress during Covid-19’ In Bahasa Indonesia, Vietnamese, Nepali and English
  • Khăn Quàng Đỏ (Youth Magazine) Articles, Viet Nam, on the following topics:
    • Emotion Trap in Consuming News in the Pandemic September 8, 2020
    • Nutrition Misunderstanding in the Pandemic Context, September 15, 2020
    • Mathematical Modelling. What is it? And How can it help alleviate the Pandemic? September 22, 2020
    • Four unknowns about Covid-19, September 29, 2020
    • What is the smallest living organism in the world? October 6, 2020
    • Wildlife Consumption, October 13, 2020

Knowledge transfer | 2021

  • Podcast program. (7 episodes – November 2020 – current): A monthly podcast on Spotify aimed at accurate public health communication. Involving doctors, researchers, EOCRU experts in medical, public health, and related fields as well as external speakers (dr. Siti Nadia, M. Epid (Spokesperson for Covid-19 Vaccination from Indonesia’s Ministry of Health) and Prof. Zubairi Djoerban, Sp.PD-KHOM (Head of the Covid-19 Task Force of The Board of the Indonesian Medical Association/Pengurus Besar Ikatan Dokter Indonesia). Episode 1 – Indonesia
  • Radio program (Sumba) – aiming to disseminate significant and accurate information and engage interest in health issues amongst the public in rural areas in Sumba. Using easy-to-understand language in the local dialect, the program is aired on bi-weekly basis and has released four episodes. Indonesia
  • Covid-19 Related Video Interview Series (EOCRU Social Media), Indonesia – To engage and educate the public through social media about the Covid-19 pandemic – a series of 10 videos of interviews with 6 internal researchers and collaborators, on the following topics:
    • Future of Covid-19 in Indonesia through mathematical modelling
    • Covid-19 herd immunity in Indonesia: What, when, and how
    • How effective are large-scale social restrictions and mudik (returning to hometowns) prohibitions to suppress the number of cases and the transmission rate of Covid-19 in Indonesia?
    • The impact of mass media publication about Covid-19 toward public decision and action
    • How we can be more careful in consuming Covid-19 related news
    • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding in Pandemic situation
    • Vaccine Experiences in Youth eyes (comparing the experiences in Indonesia and overseas)
    • How does the COVID-19 works in your body?
    • COVID-19 vaccine for children, is it safe?
  • ‘Digital science hub’ – a joint project between OUCRU and Bayer Viet Nam to develop the science literacy of Vietnamese children through online engagement and science learning activities. Viet Nam
  • World Immunisation Week: ‘I’m vaccinated’ social media campaign Viet Nam
  • Short film for social media: ‘Q & A on Covid-19 Vaccine’ – with Hospital for Tropical Diseases HCMC with Dr Truong Ngoc Trung Viet Nam
  • Providing factual information about COVID-19 and answering FAQs of communities through VIBER Group. Nepal
  • Posters: Post-vaccination advice, precaution of mental health during isolation, Difference between Covid-19 and flu symptoms, Precaution during pregnancy while Covid-19 positive, Omicron virus, Physical Distance at Vaccination Centre, Precautions during Festive season – all displayed in the hospital and within the community. Nepal
  • Dissemination of Covid-19 information booklet during community response with ward members, Lalitpur, Nepal
  • OUCRU Vietnam social media posts (from June to December 2021) responding to public concerns and interests related to Covid-19 and vaccination:
    • Responding with infographic about the risks of side effects versus the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine.
    • Responding with Q&A posters addressing specific questions or misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, such as efficacy of vaccine on variants, efficacy and effectiveness of different vaccines, vaccination for children, etc.
    • Responding with informative animations on topics such as taking care of Covid-19 patients at home and addressing all common questions about Covid-19 vaccination. The development and production of these animations were led by an OUCRU researcher.
    • Supporting national vaccination rollout: I’m vaccinated campaign posters of healthcare workers and community members sharing their photos and messages of getting their Covid-19 vaccines.
    • Provided positivity and expressed empathy to support people’s wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The posts covered topics on taking care of mental health in lockdown and for talking to children about Covid-19.
  • OUCRU Nepal social media awareness (posters) from August to December 2021) responding to public concerns and interests related to Covid-19 and vaccination including:
    • Post-vaccination advice,
    • Precaution of mental health during isolation,
    • Difference between Covid-19 and flu symptoms,
    • Precaution during pregnancy while covid-19 positive,
    • Omicron virus,
    • Physical Distance on Vaccination Centre,
    • Precaution towards COVID 19 during Festive season
  • Social Media Awareness: “Video Display on maintaining physical distance within office premises”. Nepal