New social lane

2021/11/25 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Ed. Royal Society
A week ago, the prestigious scientific journal Science confirmed in its editorial: "COVID-19 has taught the world that knowing what to do doesn't guarantee doing what we know."
 
Until before COVID-19 it was clear that the fact that the reasons and solutions have been scientifically proven does not imply any action. The climate emergency is a clear example.
 
However, the editorial focuses on health and denounces that many times people refuse to take preventive measures and treatments, even if their efficacy is proven. In the case of COVID-19, for example, he mentions that although safe and effective vaccines have been developed, only two-thirds of Americans have received the first dose. Regarding non-pharmaceutical measures, although it is known that the use of the mask and distance are useful to avoid transmission, many behave negligently and even oppose it.
 
According to Science, this kind of behavior is an example of failure, and it says verbatim that to combat it science has to add a new lane on the road of access to society. In particular, it considers that implementation research is lacking. It is not enough to investigate prevention and treatment, but it is also necessary to analyze and work on how to socialize the results obtained in the laboratory, taking into account all the links, from health professionals to the end user.
 
The editorial provides several examples, including a strategy to combat AIDS in Africa. In fact, they saw that adult male circumcision significantly reduced HIV transmission. However, although the World Health Organization and other agents provided the necessary funding and resources to implement this measure, men could not accept this minor surgery. In Tanzania, however, a trial has been conducted through shepherds. With their support, the rest of the men have managed to accept the surgery, as they are leaders of the community. They have shown that working with the social partners is very effective.
 
What successful strategies for vaccine acceptance, viability, loyalty, equity and diffusion? What social marketing messages are most effective? What are the best opinion leaders?
 
More questions can be added; in any case, the answer requires the participation of multidisciplinary experts: communication and marketing, anthropology, economy, social psychology, sociology... All of them, along with the creators of scientific advances, propose the creation of a research and work department to analyse and implement the most effective ways of reaching society. And that is that scientific discovery is not the end, but the starting point.