Pillar 1
Public health responses


Prevention and control measures for infectious diseases require community support to be successful. SARS-CoV-2 has made it eminently clear that community engagement in prevention is essential, and the need for trusted community partners to disseminate and be a reliable resource for science-based information is critical to this engagement—yet, processes to successfully obtain community buy-in and combat misinformation are poorly developed.

Proposed Solution

Women play integral roles in their communities as educators, primary household caretakers, and agents of change. Women were perceived as better communicators, more trustworthy, more socially connected, and more committed to having a healthy household. As the primary caretakers when household members are ill, there is an additional need for them to be empowered to make informed decisions for their family. A gendered lens to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has demonstrated the critical role women have played in the response. These roles and characteristics highlight the importance of engaging women in effectively designing and implementing culturally acceptable and sustainable interventions and empowering them as key decision-makers from the outset.

Statement of Work

Women are instrumental in building community awareness and acceptance of interventions, but they would do so more efficiently after attaining science-based knowledge of the disease systems being addressed. Combining this with their local knowledge of the community will allow them to prioritize and improve strategies to address emerging infectious diseases in the community. We are developing a systematic but flexible process in which programming is introduced into a community following a sensitization and assessment period that allows working groups and implementation plans to be developed by women leaders in the community.