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Factors and processes influencing individual and community preparedness for a pandemic outbreak in New Zealand - 
Report to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, Wellington, New Zealand.<

Buergelt, Petra T., Johnston, D.M. and Paton, Douglas (2009). Factors and processes influencing individual and community preparedness for a pandemic outbreak in New Zealand -&nbsp;<br />Report to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, Wellington, New Zealand.<. New Zealand: Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd. (GNS).

Document type: Research Report
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar

Author Buergelt, Petra T.
Johnston, D.M.
Paton, Douglas
Title of Report Factors and processes influencing individual and community preparedness for a pandemic outbreak in New Zealand - 
Report to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, Wellington, New Zealand.
Publication Date 2009
ISBN 978-0-478-19668-9   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Publisher Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd. (GNS)
Place of Publication New Zealand
Start Page 1
End Page 18
Total Pages 18
Abstract Top-down communication approaches have not significantly influenced the extent to which people prepare for future pandemics. Research suggests that to develop and deliver effective risk management information for a pandemic, it is necessary to gain an
understanding of how people interpret information, and how individual and environmental factors influence these interpretations. This qualitative study set out to provide these insights.

Eleven people were interviewed for this study, between October 2007 and January 2008. Interviews were semi-structured and in-depth, with an average duration of just under two hours. The sample of participants was reasonably diverse with respect to personal and environmental characteristics as well as covering a range of preparedness levels for influenza pandemic. The study was undertaken during a period in which bird flu was not prominent in the public eye; undertaking this study during a period of quiescence provided insights into the most challenging period for risk communication.

Participants’ level of preparedness varied in accordance with their level of perceived risk. Those who perceived a low level of risk (7 of the 11 participants) had undertaken basic preparedness measures, and were content to keep a watching brief on the situation. Those who perceived bird flu to be a real and imminent threat had prepared more. In general, participants believed that the threat posed by bird flu can change rapidly, and that people’s levels of preparedness can be rapidly adjusted in response to the perceived level of threat.

Specific preparations varied widely among participants. The five basic elements of preparedness were: stockpiling of food and water supplies; developing resilience to loss of mains electricity; acquiring first aid supplies and developing knowledge of infection control procedures; acquiring camping equipment; and acquiring specific medication such as Tamiflu. Long-term preparation strategies employed by several of the participants included developing inner strength and a strong sense of self-efficacy; maintaining or improving physical and psychological health and developing a culture of self-sufficiency and reducing
reliance on external resources.

To be effective, risk communication and management strategies need to address the complex web of interacting individual and environmental factors both by encouraging preparedness activities and counteracting factors impeding preparation. Participants had mitigate specific consequences so that people are convinced of the purpose of recommended actions; presenting information with honesty and integrity; and couching messages in appropriate language.

Specific suggestions for risk communication that arise from this study include the following:
• Adjust the content of education programmes to the actual level of pandemic risk, with the
complexity of content increasing with increased risk.
• Identify and correct misconceptions about pandemic risk and preparedness.
• Incorporate pandemic preparedness communication into an all-hazards communication
strategy.
• Utilise the principles of persuasive communication to increase the credibility and
effectiveness of pandemic risk communication.
• Engage communities in the development and delivery of key messages.


Keyword New Zealand
Pandemic
Preparedness
Bird flue
Risk perception
Education
Additional Notes GNS Science Report 2009/09
 
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Created: Mon, 23 Jan 2017, 11:35:29 CST by Marion Farram