Petr Mati, social pedagogue, tells Czech Health Minister his communication style about COVID-19 is demotivating
Czech Health Minister Blatný has been threatening people in the Czech Republic by saying that if we don't improve with respect to the pandemic spreading, then draconian measures will have to be instituted. The media was full of such headlines on 21 February after he was asked what will happen if hospitals here become unable to handle the onslaught of infected patients.
"If it doesn't work out, then a draconian change will come, but I am doing my best to avoid that," the Health Minister warned. It was not the first time Government representatives have made such threats.
Social pedagogue Petr Mati published a letter on 21 February calling on the Health Minister to change his communication method. In his view, the most important thing to do is to motivate the citizens.
"Sir, do you actually believe that, at a time when citizens lack motivation, you will get them to cooperate with you through intimidation and, in a way, making threats?" Mati wrote in his letter to the Health Ministry. "Psychologically our society is badly off and I have to tell you, with tears in my eyes, that your Government's strategy is just pouring gasoline on the fire. You cannot cope with fighting against the pandemic without your 'patients', the citizens. Through this communication method and Government strategy you are losing us more and more."
OPEN LETTER FROM PETR MATI TO THE CZECH HEALTH MINISTER
Allow me to briefly introduce myself. My name is Petr Mati and I live in North Bohemia. I grew up at the Janov housing estate near Litvínov, in a locality that has gradually transformed into a socially excluded enclave.
That experience of mine then became the basis of my professional career. I am a graduate in the field of Social Pedagogy, and I have been working in this field a long time. I work with people on a daily basis and I must constantly keep learning about how to work with their motivations. Without my clients' motivation, I will never succeed in reaching the coveted aim of our common work.
I am of the opinion that this is similar with your medical practice, if not absolutely the same. As a professional physician, what can you do with a patient who is not motivated to cooperate with you? I have learned that during a crisis there is a need to listen more and to be more careful when working with people's motivations. Where am I heading here?
Sir, do you actually believe that, at a time when citizens lack motivation, you will get them to cooperate with you through intimidation and, in a way, making threats?
Psychologically our society is badly off and I have to tell you, with tears in my eyes, that your Government's strategy is just pouring gasoline on the fire. You cannot cope with fighting against the pandemic without your 'patients', the citizens. Through this communication method and Government strategy you are losing us more and more.
I regret this, but as a citizen of our republic and an active person in a field of work in which I have touched thousands of lives, I have to tell you that if you do not change the communications concept and the system for fighting the pandemic into one that will aim at citizens' motivations, you will never achieve victory - in fact, you have already lost.
Sir, restrictions are not the right way. That is the path that will lead you, as a Government, into absolute loss.
I am writing you this email out of respect for your work and I hope you create a new strategy that will actually motivate people and that will be based on common sense.
Bc. Petr Mati
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