A study has identified some simple interventions which tripled the usage of masks in Bangladesh.
Researchers including Jason Abaluck and Mushfiq Mobarak of Yale School of Management tested multiple methods and came up with the selected ones which can help other countries like India to normalize mask-wearing, reports Yale Insights.
As people of Bangladesh started becoming indifferent about wearing masks since it started in April 2020, Jason and Mobarak in partnership with the NGO Innovations for Poverty Action, conducted a study involving over 340,000 people in 600 villages.
After conducting interventions, Mobarak and his team have created a mnemonic: NORM.
• No-cost: free masks distributed door-to-door
• Offering information on mask wearing via video and brochures
• Reinforcement in-person, in-public
• Modeling and endorsement by trusted leaders
The researchers and their NGO partners are already working with governments to implement the interventions identified in the study, reaching out to the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and regional leaders in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, where infections have exploded since late March.
"We've realized that we need to create what we call implementation toolkits, with all these details laid out clearly for them, and then directly talk to the government staff, not only at the high level, but the people who would be working at the field level and the mid-level bureaucrats," Mobarak says. "For us to get at something like a hundred million masks quickly as well as implement the complementary set of interventions that are required to ensure that people wear those masks persistently, this kind of nuts-and-bolts work is really critical."