Risk barometer demonstrates: People fear much more “terror” and “asylum seekers” than “germs” and “antibiotic resistance”

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“Terror” and “asylum seekers” is answering the average Austrian when he is asked what he is associating with “dangers” and “risks”. This is the result of a risk barometer (representative survey among 1018 people), recently presented by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Security (AGES) and the Environment Agency Austria. AGES experts themselves identify very different dangers, such as “germs” or “antibiotic resistances”. But with 1,4 percent, this topics are far behind the topics terror and asylum seekers. “The risks that we see relevant are not considered as relevant by the population”, AGES Managing Director Wolfgang Hermann commented the results. He therefore sees it as a basic task to bring information about scientifically proven risks to where Austrians inform themselves. Wolfgang Hermann is describing communication as the great challenge to reach the target groups.
We, the Semmelweis Foundation, absolutely agree with this concern – communication (in regard to Infection Surveillance and Control) was the topic of our last CEE Conference (March 2017, Budapest), and what we learned from this event is very simple: It needs clear messages, the right communication channels and the right persons, who understand convey messages. In the clinical setting a very good example is Prof. Didier Pittet (WHO), who certainly can be considered as a communication genius (campaign “Clean Hands, Save Lives”). His appeals in particular are addressed to health care workers – and what he is doing is a combination of personal communication and the use of new media, which are (in opposite to the classic media) a cost-saving and efficient way to reach people.
What kind of communication tools you are using to transport important messages in relation to antibiotic resistance, HAI etc. …!? Tell us your experiences via twitter, facebook or leave a message under the comment.

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Carola Timmel is journalist for print and radio and professional speaker. Her focus lies on the topic Medicine & Health.

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