HEARD Researcher Attends WHO Meeting in Geneva
Professor Gavin George of the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) at UKZN participated in the first in-person meeting of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Technical Advisory Group (the TAG) which focused on Behavioural Insights (BI) and Sciences for Health since the COVID-19 pandemic.
George said the meeting held in Geneva was timely given that the two-year initial term of the TAG was extended with a new Chair, Professor Susan Michie of University College London, and Co-Chair Dr Fadi Makki, founder of Nudge Lebanon.
Michie and Makki assumed leadership from Professor Cass R Sunstein of Harvard University in the United States from July this year.
This TAG meeting presented an opportunity to develop a shared perspective of the scope of BI in global public health and a consensus approach to future interaction to optimise the value that the TAG provides to WHO and its member states. The meeting also focused on Behavioural Insights strategies and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) in low- and middle-income countries, with the aim of behavioural science underpinning NCD programmes.
George has been a member of the WHO Technical Advisory Group on BI and Sciences for Health since 2020.
The TAG acts as an advisory body informing the WHO’s behavioural insights initiative. To date this has included leading the development of a road map for WHO to systematically include behavioural perspectives in its work across the organisation. In the last two years, the TAG has provided technical assistance on incorporating behavioural insights and science into national health policies and programme planning.
The participation of George in the TAG is strategic towards the realisation of HEARD’s mandate to work with research and advocacy groups to generate innovative ideas and ensure these translate into practical policies to help overcome the burden of HIV/AIDS in Africa.