NIHI acts rapidly to respond to COVID-19

NIHI’s response to COVID-19

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 NIHI has been working to develop proposals and innovative tools to support essential services and the Government wherever possible. We’ve put together a short list of the projects we have been working on in the last few weeks.

A deeper understanding
Associate Professor Natalie Walker and Professor Chris Bullen have been working with Associate Professor Judith McCool from the School of Population Health in collaboration with Horizon Research on a series of national online surveys.

Conducted for the Ministry of Health, the surveys are looking to shed light on the knowledge, attitudes and intentions of New Zealanders’ in relation to COVID-19 and government actions. The first survey was completed a week before NZ’s move to the Alert System. We hope to be able to provide a link to the survey’s findings later.

Staying up-to-date with accurate information
Manoj Alwis has developed a website that aggregates COVD-19 information from other websites to enable ready access to accurate, up-to-date information about the pandemic in NZ and overseas. Follow the latest developments in real time here.



Innovation at the centre
Professor Chris Bullen, Associate Professor Natalie Walker, Pragya Nandan and PhD student Jinsong Chen have been working with other groups at the University of Auckland on a range of proposals for innovative tools, including wearables to change viral transmission risk behaviours.

Together with local start-up Ark Health Discovery they have been collaborating on social media-based COVID-19 chatbot ideas as well as mobile games for use with other social media platforms.

These innovative proposals aim to enable access to accurate information and support the wellbeing of people in self-isolation or quarantine in NZ and China.

Volunteering and expert advice
Professor Chris Bullen is coordinating a team of public health medicine specialists from the School of Population Health. The specialists are volunteering their expertise to support the public health unit’s contact tracing teams while also taking calls from primary care.

He has also joined a technical advisory group providing strategic epidemiological advice to the Chief Science Advisor at the Ministry of Health on the COVID-19 response.