A research team from the Centre for Data and Knowledge Integration for Health (CIDACS) in Bahia, Brazil have created the Social Disparities Index for Covid-19 to measure and assess the effects of health inequalities of the most vulnerable people in Brazil during the Covid-19 pandemic. But fundamental to the success of the Index was a carefully planned programme of Public Engagement.

Vital to the project’s success was the inclusion of people from community groups who were working with black populations, favelas, black women, food insecurity, and human rights in particular – people directly affected by the deepening social inequality dynamics in the country. Policymakers, health sector managers, and members of the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass) were also involved in order to stimulate ideas for improving IDS-Covid-19 information.

The research team led by Maria Yury Ichihara, encouraged and enabled open dialogue of different social groups using a variety of methods and techniques as described in their latest article ‘Public Involvement and Engagement in health inequalities research on COVID-19 pandemic: a case study of CIDACS/FIOCRUZ BAHIA, Brazil’ published in the International Journal of Population Data Science.

The research generated real and positive impact for public managers, community representatives, and society in general. It sought to capture new perspectives, validation, and decision-making, and to unite support to make the Index useful for stakeholders and involved parties. And it delivered on its attempts to actively include vulnerable groups in the process which provided an invaluable layer of information to enhance the overall scientific results.

This case study presents fully the challenges, strategies, activities, results, and lessons learned during the development of the Public Engagement model, with methods and techniques to connect different dialogues and perspectives that ultimately helped in building the research. In addition, the team produced a webinar that we would encourage you to watch entitled "Beyond distancing: dialogues to understand social inequalities in the Covid-19 pandemic".


Click here to read the full open access article

Maria Yury Ichihara, Physician (UFPa), Master in Community Health and PhD in Epidemiology (ISC-UFBa), and Vice-coordinator of the Center for Integration of Data and Knowledge for Health (CIDACS)

dos Anjos Fonseca, A., Moraes Pimenta, D. ., Rodrigues Sebastião de Almeida, M. ., Tourinho Lima, R., Barreto, M. L. and Travassos Ichihara, M. Y. (2020) “Public Involvement & Engagement in health inequalities research on COVID-19 pandemic: a case study of CIDACS/FIOCRUZ BAHIA”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 5(3). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v5i3.2133.