IGF 2023 Lightning Talk #48 Hive – people, pandemics and health information platform

Monday, 9th October, 2023 (00:45 UTC) - Monday, 9th October, 2023 (01:15 UTC)
WS 6 – Room E
Digital Divides & Inclusion

World Health Organization
Sylvie BRIAND, World Health Organization Sarah HESS, World Health Organization Tim NGUYEN, World Health Organization Brian YAU, World Health Organization John LEE, World Health Organization


John LEE, World Health Organization

Onsite Moderator

John LEE

Online Moderator

Brian YAU


John LEE



Targets: 4.5: During crises, the vulnerable and marginalised are disproportionally impacted. Low levels of health literacy, digital literacy, and access to health information can increase the negative impacts of an epidemic and pandemic on already vulnerable populations. The speakers will discuss these aspects through this session, identify gaps, and explore strengthening opportunities. 4.7: Communities can bring local, contextual knowledge and expertise to global health issues, thereby participating in a whole-of-society response to a pandemic. The inclusion and participation of diverse voices and stakeholders promote autonomy, accountability and enable transparency in decision-making processes. 13.1: As the environment impacts human lives and health in various ways, the communities and networks in environment & climate change, including NGOs, are essential stakeholders in the Hive platform ecosystem. The Hive platform aims to strengthen the resilience of communities against mis- and disinformation on climate-related hazards and provide a space for continuously building the adaptive capacity of communities. 16.7: Community-led space for trustworthy health information that facilitates synchronous and asynchronous collaborative working practices, supported by many features and functionalities, including community spaces, document repositories, documentation, instant chat, breakout groups, and video calls encourage the responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making at all levels. 16.8: The Hive platform aims to connect digital and non-digital domains worldwide, including low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), and broaden their participation in global health issues, policies, guidance, and decision-making. This session will discuss various use cases across geographical locations for multi-sectoral participation. 16.10: The scale and unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic placed extraordinary challenges on leaders, decision-makers, and communities to access trustworthy information and threatened trust within our society. Promoting health information literacy and sharing systematic approaches to manage infodemic can ensure public access to information while safeguarding the health of our communities.



Duration (minutes)

In today’s highly interconnected world, each individual is exposed to a complex information ecosystem that spans both the physical and digital environments. An infodemic is an overabundance of information, accurate or not, in the digital and physical space that often accompanies an acute health event such as an outbreak or epidemic. The scale and unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic placed extraordinary challenges on leaders, decision-makers, and communities to provide access to trustworthy information that otherwise would threaten trust within our society. The global health community sought solutions to improve access to trustworthy information, build an ecosystem of trusted communities, and facilitate individual and community decision-making to develop resilience against mis- and disinformation during high-impact public health events. The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated a rapid acceleration in the development and growth of digital communication technologies. This, coupled with the need for large-scale communication, engagement, and collaboration, provided an opportunity for leaders and decision-makers to rethink how the dynamic and evolving information ecosystem could be leveraged to enhance the way information is generated and shared during crises. Furthermore, as pandemics impact all of society, there needed to be an inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach to this information exchange, taking into consideration those who are digitally connected and those who are not. To build and maintain trust, communities, and individuals need to be listened to and be given the opportunity to participate in broader discussions to share the challenges and impediments they are facing together. If questions and concerns are not addressed adequately it can provide a space for rumors and misinformation to flourish. For example, suppose Public Health and Social Measures being mandated by authorities are not feasible to implement in certain settings or require resources that are not available. The disconnect between leadership, communities, and individuals can lead to information seeking behaviours away from trusted sources and the erosion of trust from authoritative voices. As a social capital, trust is fragile, particularly in times of crisis and it requires specific, localised interventions for it to be nurtured and maintained. Autonomy, consistency, and transparency in communication underpinned by the commitment and accountability of leaders and decision-makers and active community involvement are essential to developing and maintaining trust across our communities when the topic concerns lives, livelihoods, health, and well-being. Solutions are needed that build trust, are inclusive and responsive, and enable autonomy. WHO uses several strategies to disseminate health information, listen to feedback and engage in co-development of guidance with communities and decision-makers. The WHO Information Network for Epidemics (“EPI-WIN”) is one strategy that provides resources and regular updates adapted to different sectors and information needs. Recognizing and promoting local knowledge and expertise is critical to ensure WHO’s guidance or public-health interventions are relevant, feasible, and appropriate. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a wealth of information and experience was shared between sectors, decision-makers and within communities. However, it was often ad-hoc and opportunistic. WHO wants to facilitate the systematic sharing of this local knowledge and expertise, capitalizing on best-practice, creating a digital ecosystem to strengthen pandemic preparedness, and supporting decision-makers and community leaders to connect and share experiences to prepare and respond to high-impact health events. The Hive is WHO’s community-centered Epidemic and Pandemic Information Platform, designed to complement the EPI-WIN approach and enhance the way that WHO supports and learns from communities. Communities are where trust is built, information is shared and collaboration happens. Particularly in times of crisis and uncertainty, people turn to those who have remained trustworthy over time. “For individuals to adopt, change and sustain new behaviors during epidemics, they need to… have the ability to enact the recommendations in their living/social/work/faith setting”. The Hive platform is designed to bring together and empower communities while leveraging current technology to enhance the digital information ecosystem. The Hive platform, like a beehive, has the opportunity to be space of activity, support, and community. The HIVE is an ambitious, future-facing platform designed to transform the ways of working with communities during public health emergencies. It is an innovation that will support developing and maintaining community trust, enabling active community collaboration to address questions and concerns, and share trustworthy and relevant information. In future work, we aim to continuously improve the ways of working for the communities on HIVE and bringing in the latest information technology advancements, including data analytics and machine learning to expand the role of the community in high-impact public health events and complement Epidemic & Pandemic Preparedness & Prevention.

The session will be delivered in presentation format, a hybrid event. The speaker will present onsite, and the personation slides and speaker's video will be displayed on video conferencing platform real-time. Online moderator will work with the onsite moderator will coordinate participation and interaction during the session.