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04 Nov 2020

Literacy Level Affects Response to Pandemic

Jakarta - The Covid-19 pandemic is not only related to the health system but also the level of public literacy. Deputy for Human, Community and Cultural Development of the Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, Subandi Sardjoko, stated that the level of public literacy affects attitudes in determining the response to the pandemic. People with high literacy tend to respond well to pandemic, able to detect symptoms independently, communicate fluently with the medical team so that they are always ready to protect themselves.

Subandi explained this was based on data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University in the United States in March 2020. The data shows that the increase in new cases per day in countries with an average literacy level is low or below 85 percent such as Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, had a 900% increase in new cases within seven days.

"This shows that literacy skill affect whether health information can be better received by the community, so that they are able to reduce the number of victims. Countries with a low average literacy level have a higher risk of being attacked by a pandemic,” he explained when he was a speaker at the opening of the National Stakeholder Meeting 2020 held online by the National Library on Wednesday (11/4/2020).

At present, Subandi said, the real challenge in carrying out development is fighting the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the socio-economic conditions of the community. He emphasized, library has a role in providing support to the community during this pandemic.

“This is our experience in early September when we went to the library of Cendil Village in East Belitung. So during the pandemic, library play a very important role, especially students who cannot go to school and the community can take advantage of the library, can also make use of its internet access and services," he explained.

Library as literacy service center and literacy activists are invited to become the main partners in community activities in providing adequate sources of information and knowledge about the corona virus and driving a culture of clean and healthy living. Through a social inclusion literacy approach, library must facilitate the public in order to transform the knowledge and information they obtain with real activities to solve life problems and improve welfare.

Last year, through a social inclusion-based library transformation program, National Library reached out the library in 32 provinces and 100 regencies in Indonesia. The National Stakeholder Meeting 2020 was attended by representatives from 32 provincial library service offices and 100 regency library service offices. This activity is conducted online by establishing strict health protocols.

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