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Behavioural Change Needed to Halt the Spread of Viral Illness

For Release Upon Receipt - Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A public health research team from The UWI Cave Hill Campus has highlighted the need forbehaviouralchange in order to contain thespread of COVID-19 in Barbados.

Their recommendation is contained in a publication entitled ‘Modellingand Public Health Interventions: Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions to disrupt transmission of COVID-19 in Barbados’.

The team comprised researchers Prof. IanHambletonand DoctorsMadhuvantiMurphy, KimQuimby, ChristinaHowitt, Natasha Sobers of the GeorgeAlleyneChronic Disease Research Centre, as well as Doctors HeatherHarewoodand Natalie Greaves from the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

The document seeks to provide definitions and recommendations for non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) aimed at reducing the severity ofhealthcare system impact of the virusby disrupting transmission. Itis a good companion document to any COVID-19modelling.

“It is important to note that models are based on assumptions and present both the worst and best case scenarios (no intervention vs. NPI measures or vaccine).

“In order to have moderate disruption (up to 75 percent) of disease achieved, a range of NPIs will need to be quickly implemented towards suppression?with repeated implementation,” the research team said.

The researchersadded that NPIs are based onbehaviourchange and generally have a low compliance. However they can be improved by strategies suited to the local social, economic and cultural context.

Among the recommendations for NPI strategies for COVID-19 are increased testing and surveillance; information, education and communication; limiting mass gatherings;community containment, and maintaining social distancing particularly for individuals over age 70.

Theyalso noted that further considerations for effective NPI use are the existence of policy and legislative support, as well as the availability of outputs from active and passive surveillance systems to monitor and guide public health measures.

For more information aboutThe UWI, Cave HillCampus Covid-19 response visit:www.cavehill.uwi.edu/covid19/

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(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)










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