Every week, a different guest tweeter takes charge of Croakey’s rotated, curated Twitter account, @WePublicHealth, and uses the account to cover specific health issues or events.
Big thanks to Hannah Pierce, President of the Public Health Association of Australia (WA), who recently took the helm for a second time to resume coverage of the #Prevention2020 virtual conference. See her first report.
This summary below features a big look at communicating public health messages, the release of a new report on “cowboy” online alcohol providers, and a closing keynote from Dr Lisa Studdert, Deputy Secretary for Population Health, Sport and Cancer in the Australian Department of Health.
You can also check out the first ever edition of a special conference Virtual Issue of the Australian New Zealand Journal of Public Health (ANZJPH), with links to papers published in the Journal on topics being explored in keynote sessions of #Prevention2020.
Hannah Pierce tweets:
#Prevention2020 resumed in late May with a Health Communications session, featuring Professor Jim Macnamara, from the School of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Deputy Dean of the UTS Faculty of Science, Verity Firth who heads the UTS Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion, and VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio.
With concurrent sessions on:
- Tackling unhealthy industries through prevention
- Expanding the evidence base for prevention
- Healthy Women, Healthy Families
- Improving accessibility to healthy food
VicHealth had just released research on on-demand alcohol delivery services and risky drinking, which found it was commonplace for services to deliver alcohol products regularly to people who were already intoxicated, fail to check IDs and leave alcohol unattended.
Communication and resistance
UTS Professor Macnamara made the point about politicians influencing health communication – and not always in a good way. We’ve seen it during #COVID19 – the US President has communicated messages that seriously oppose health messages from the WHO
Attendees were pleased to hear from Macnamara that consumers need to improve our media literacy. We need to be responsible for doing our own fact checking. We can do this through @snopes.
Former NSW Labor Minister Verity Firth talks about industry pushback leading up to the NSW Tobacco Act 2008 – suddenly there were MPs and others coming up to her in Parliament House advocating for the tobacco industry. #Prevention202
She talked about the huge lobbying efforts mobilized against her work in tobacco control as a junior minister. Good lessons about the importance of genuine collaboration inside & outside government mobilize for political change. #prevention2020
If food loss and waste were its own country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter after China & USA says @SandroDemaio. Unbelievable when you consider starvation is still a huge problem in many developing countries #Prevention2020
Sandro Demaio reinforces the importance of framing messages. People see ‘healthy option’ as something provided to them. ‘Healthy choice’ reinforces the concept of personal responsibility – framing that is helpful for industry but unhelpful for public health
We need to continue to question what we do and continue to evolve our public health approaches. What worked in tobacco control 20 years ago is unlikely to work now #Prevention2020
Today the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) and Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) released a statement calling for a national paid pandemic leave scheme to prevent a second wave of #COVID19.
PHAA CEO Terry Slevin: “Due to financial realities, people with no paid sick leave are more likely to go to work when unwell” https://phaa.net.au/news/we-need-a-national-paid-pandemic-leave-scheme-to-prevent-a-second-wave-270
Silver linings & ongoing stresses
Dr Lisa Studdert, Deputy Secretary for Population Health, Sport and Cancer in the Australian Department of Health, delivered the closing plenary for #Prevention2020. Here are some takeaways.
Health literacy greatly influences the decisions people make about their health. #COVID19 has increased the understanding of preventive measures for infectious diseases. Australians now understand the importance of good hygiene- one silver lining.
Is there an opportunity to capitalise on #COVID19 in other areas of prevention? What healthcare reforms could be pursued or tweaked? e.g. expansion of Telehealth has many benefits, including for those in remote & rural settings.
We can’t underestimate the impact the #COVID19 pandemic is having on our mental health. It has changed the dynamics of our daily lives. We must now balance the immediate acute risks of COVID-19 with the long-term impacts
The National Preventive Health Strategy remains a priority for the Department of Health and timelines will be adjusted to reflect the demand #COVID19 is placing on public health organisations and departments
Professor Andrew Wilson (Co-Director), from the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, says when it comes to prevention spend it’s not necessarily the quantity of money that’s key, but where the money goes & the continuity of funding. It needs to be spent on things that we know are effective, and needs to be sustained
That review of current and future trends in prevention research that Andrew spoke about is here.