Enhancing COVID-19 public health communication for culturally and linguistically diverse communities: An Australian interview study with community representatives
Keywords:intercultural communication, migrants, qualitative, public health communication, COVID-19, mediated communication, pandemic
Background: Public health crises present challenges for providing accessible, timely, and accurate health information to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. Aim: The aim of this qualitative project was to explore strategies used by CALD community organizations to improve communication about COVID-19 for their communities; we also aimed to identify gaps and challenges. Methods: We interviewed 16 representatives from Greek, Italian, and Chinese CALD organizations in Melbourne, Australia. The interviews were analyzed thematically. Results: Community leaders played a significant role in engaging their community members with accurate key health information. There were differences between language communities about preferred channels for receiving information. As the pandemic intensified, there was a shift from written communication to more interactive exchanges between authorities and community leaders. Discussion: The findings suggest effective public health communication is enhanced by the mediation and outreach strategies adopted by CALD community organizations; further, stakeholders need to be cognizant of heterogeneity of needs and preferences. This may optimize information dissemination to meet specific needs. Conclusions:The CALD organizations have developed communication strategies involving different kinds of mediation to reach specific sub-groups, especially the most vulnerable. These strategies can inform future public health engagement.
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