Information Dissemination During a Global Pandemic: Experiences from the WHO with Dr. Sarah Barber - UNU Conversation Series

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On 26 August 2020, UNU hosted “Information Dissemination During a Global Pandemic: Experiences from the WHO“, a virtual conversation with Dr Sarah Louise Barber, Director of WHO Kobe Centre.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has transfixed global attention in 2020. Media coverage on the topic has penetrated every aspect of daily life, serving the public with overwhelming amounts of information. This is further complicated by misinformation and the near-daily emergence of new facts on the virus and implications. All of this has led to a depreciation of public trust in information, frustrating efforts to minimize infections while time is bought for the development of a vaccine. How can the right information be effectively disseminated? How can the public discern factually accurate information? How can misunderstandings, mistakes, and developments be communicated without inviting controversy?

Dr Barber joined UNU Rector David M. Malone to discuss how the World Health Organization (WHO) has sought to provide reliable information to the public and blunt the impact of an infodemic.

Virtual event

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About the speaker

Dr Sarah Louise Barber is the Director of the WHO Kobe Centre and has been with the WHO in various capacities, including as Senior Health Policy Advisor in the Office of the Regional Director for Africa, WHO Representative to South Africa, Team Leader for Health Systems Development in China, and Health Policy Advisor in Indonesia and Cambodia. She also previously managed evaluation research at the University of California Berkeley’s Institute of Business and Economic Research, and the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico. Over the past 25 years, Dr Barber has published widely on diverse topics in health economics and policy analysis, including the role of the private health care sector, conditional cash transfers, human resources, insurance and provider payment reforms, quality of care assessments, policies for essential medicines, monitoring and evaluation, migration, and fiscal policies.

Dr Barber is a health economist and policy specialist, and holds doctorate and post-doctorate qualifications from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, focusing on economic evaluation.

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