By Willeke van Staalduinen and Jonas Bernitt (AFEdemy)
The need to improve societal communication and the monitoring of measures is one of the main conclusions in the STEP_UP survey. A total of 133 people answered the questionnaire that the STEP_UP project team (WISE, ISIS, AFEdemy, SHINE and the Croatian health institute) shared among social, healthcare and municipal workers. Each project partner shared the survey with one professional group, specifically volunteers, social care workers, healthcare professionals, healthcare workers and municipality officials.
In early 2022, the STEP_UP project team asked healthcare, social care and municipal workers to give their opinion on the COVID-measures we found in literature. We asked their opinions on the following measures:
In total the survey received 133 respondents, mainly from Croatia, The Netherlands, Portugal and Germany.
Questions on social measures were answered by 22 social care workers, 10 volunteers and 44 people with other professions. Quarantine and preventive measures were seen by them as best to prevent the virus from further spreading. Tracing apps were seen as not effective and scored negatively on acceptance by society. Especially preventive measures (distancing, hygiene, wearing masks) and quarantine were well accepted by the respondents. Suggestions for improvement included better monitoring of compliance during quarantines and clearer communication when a quarantine should be carried out. Tracing apps could be improved by a better design, higher data protection and more energy efficiency.
31 healthcare professionals and 19 public health workers gave their opinion on healthcare measures. They gave the highest scores to the establishment of a separate COVID-19 station and to preventive measures. On the contrary they had a negative opinion on the cancellation or restriction of less urgent medical services and treatments. In this context seven participants pointed out that healthcare systems need to be available to everyone. Suggestions for improvement were to communicate some measures and their function more clearly or to start earlier with certain measures such as wearing masks.
The last surveyed group consisted of workers in municipalities who evaluated the political measures. As most effective to combat the virus were seen a lockdown, fostering public engagement, the building of a taskforce and mandatory testing. The acceptance of measures by society shows another picture: As fostering public engagement, followed by building a taskforce scored best, mandatory testing was seen as least acceptable. Improvements on the measures included to increase the communication on lockdowns and the number of controls in rural areas.
In the last section of the survey, participants could recommend further measures. Among others they advised: a containment of access rights to people who are unvaccinated, a mandatory vaccination, the development of measures that are suitable for people with hearing issues, the involvement of experts, rules regarding working at home and the continuation of rules after the pandemic to prevent from diseases such as zoonosis. Additionally, respondents provided comments that more coordination with neighboring countries was needed, that there should have been more attention to mental health and that there was in general less accessibility of primary health care.
The detailed survey results including all quantitative results and all open answers are summarized in a Tablebook and an Accompanying presentation, which is highlighting the best and worst rated social-, healthcare- and political measures.
Moreover, the full survey results will also be worked out in a scientific article, to be submitted by Jonas Bernitt.