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Partnership for health crisis communication

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Presentation by Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe
Informal Meeting of Ministers for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) – Ministers of Health
10–11 July 2012, Nicosia, Cyprus

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Partnership for health crisis communication

  1. 1. Geneva, 27-29 June 2012Informal Meeting of Ministers for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) – Ministers of Health 10–11 July 2012, Nicosia, Cyprus Partnership for Health Crisis Communication Zsuzsanna Jakab WHO Regional Director for Europe
  2. 2. “Public health is a sharedresponsibility and dependson strong partnership amonglocal, regional, national andinternational authorities. Thisis true among all publichealth functions includingthat of communication”– World Health Organization Outbreak @ iStockphoto Communication Planning Guide. 2008 edition
  3. 3. Today’s situation is unprecedented• Exceptional growth of population and acceleration of global movement• Europe: one of the largest crossroads for travel and trade• Europeans still exposed to risk of infectious diseases, endemic, emerging or imported (e.g. multidrug- resistant tuberculosis, food-related disease outbreaks and pandemic influenza) @ Fotolia
  4. 4. Communication is a fast-evolving field • Europe’s communication environment reshaped in the last 20 years • World connected at a fast pace • Many actors, sources and channels of health information (social media – Facebook and Twitter – messages and videos on mobile @ Ministry of Health, Russian Federation telephones)
  5. 5. Health crises are unique and• Unpredictable• Unfolding Risk communication is a• Socially and economically disruptive key public health tool• Behaviour centred for effective emergency• Anxiety generating responsethus eminently newsworthy Now is the time to establish trust in communications, as this much harder to do in a crisis @ WHO
  6. 6. The International Health Regulations (IHR) requiremore trustworthy, timely, transparent communication • Countries have committed themselves to notify any event that may constitute a public health emergency of international concern. • WHO’s confidential but proactive verification, with countries, of unofficial reports creates incentives for greater openness. Under the IHR, WHO Member States have committed themselves to developing and strengthening the core capacity of risk communication.
  7. 7. WHO Event Information Site shares urgent information globally among countries ► Notification ► Reports ► Consultation Verification ◄ National IHR Event WHO IHR focal point Information contact point (One per State Party) Site (One per WHO region) Significant, positive, impact on rapid information sharing during the influenza pandemic
  8. 8. WHO supports European countries in buildingrisk communication capacity under the IHR• All countries have the capacity for basic planning• A risk-communication plan is a first step towards build the required capacity• Specific procedures and all @ WHO/Jarno Habicht available information-technology (IT) tools should be used  Workshop on risk-communication capacities in central Asian countries
  9. 9. WHO supports European countries incommunicating effectively during crisesWHO support is intended to build, restore or maintain trust innational authorities in order to support their health guidance to thepublic. It involves:• advising on effective communication strategies;• supporting the health ministry’s communication coordination across the political interface;• speaking with one voice to strengthen public health advice; @ WHO  WHO/Europe mission to Tajikistan• providing an independent technical to ensure joint communications voice to counterbalance sensationalism. during the poliomyelitis outbreak
  10. 10. Shared communications are an essential feature ofcrisis management• Trust is central in crisis control• Messages need to be coherent• Cooperation is key to disseminating reliable information• The public will believe and act on trustworthy public health advice @ iStockphoto
  11. 11. WHO/Europe and the European Commission (EC) call for a protocol on information sharingThe influenza pandemic and the Escherichia coli outbreak highlighted theneed to improve communication cooperation among Europeanpartners. A protocol on information sharing would: • enhance timely and effective exchange of information; • keep all partners aware of what individual organizations are saying; • promote consistent communications from each party. @ Ministry of Health, Russian Federation  Example: rapid information sharing between EC and WHO/Europe on breast prostheses
  12. 12. WHO/Europe and EC call for countries to enhancetheir risk-communication capacity• Assessment: “critical mass” of expert risk communicators• Coordination mechanisms• Transparency: first announcement and transparent communications• Listening: gathering information and integrating findings into decision-making• Evaluation: mechanism to assess the impact of communication interventions. Countries see building IHR risk-communication capacity as a priority
  13. 13. Geneva, 27-29 June 2012Informal Meeting of Ministers for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) – Ministers of Health Nicosia, Cyprus, 10–11 July 2012 Thank you

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