Accelerating Changes in Norms about Social Distancing to Combat COVID-19 in Mozambique

Accelerating Changes in Norms about Social Distancing to Combat COVID-19 in Mozambique

Social distancing is one of the most important health behaviors limiting the spread of COVID‐19, but people may practice it insufficiently for multiple reasons: they may not believe or realize that community norms have shifted towards support for social distancing, and they may not realize its public health benefits. This project is supporting Mozambique’s effort to promote social distancing, in collaboration with the government’s health research center for the central region. In a representative sample of 3,000 households across three provinces, many of whom were displaced by Cyclone Idai, researchers are evaluating two different messaging approaches to promote social distancing. One emphasizes that others in the community—either prominent individuals or a high share of other households—support social distancing. The other emphasizes social distancing’s public health benefits. Data from high-frequency phone-based surveys will inform the government about how COVID-19-related knowledge, beliefs, and preventative behaviors are changing over time.

Funding for this project was provided by the UK Department for International Development, awarded through IPA's Peace & Recovery Program.

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