In this section, we present emblematic cases of good and bad practices in social responsibility and sustainability.
COVID and social sciences
By: Héctor Muskus.
The situation caused by the pandemic requires local knowledge and understandings to implement better measures. The actions taken by governments are well intentioned but the diversity of communities warns us that we have to start from the social foundations to have the desired effects.
A valuable example: 3 years ago, an African friend who worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak, told me that the measures taken by governments together with the WHO had counterproductive effects because the populations had their own conception of how to manage the diseases.
In concrete terms many people died because:
1) They saw that the people served by the WHO never returned. They thought that the authorities used the disease as an excuse to disappear them.
2) They believed that they could be cured with traditional remedies and shamanic consultations.
3) They did not believe in the white people of the WHO, since they had been exploited for hundreds of years.
4) The way of communication between WHO and local governments was incomprehensible or made little sense to them.
What effects did the measures taken by WHO and the Sierra Leone government have? 1) that people escape from the WHO representatives, 2) that contagious reproduce, and finally 3) that many people died without going to be treated for fear of local and global governments and health institutions.
When did they manage to stop Ebola? When they incorporated social science scholars who pointed out that, despite the fact that Ebola presented health problems, the biggest obstacle to stopping its spread was that the populations did not understand why they needed to be isolated and what precautions they should take.
The measures taken in Mexico during Covid 19 do not take into account the various social contexts and situations.