194597 Mapping and review of existing guidance and plans for community and household-based communication to prepare and respond to pandemic influenza

Monday, November 9, 2009

Renata Schiavo, PHD, MA , 1) Strategic Communication Resources 2) New York University, New York, NY
Neha Kapil , UNICEF - New York Headquarters, New York, NY
While it is difficult to predict when the next pandemic influenza (P/I) may occur and how severe it may be, experts agree that it would pose a worldwide risk. Past flu pandemics and outbreaks of other diseases point to the need for global and country-specific preparedness where communication interventions and advance planning play a critical role in outbreak response. Well-designed communication programs may help reinforce and/or establish long-term behaviors and social norms that would help prevent or mitigate future epidemics among communities, households and populations. This study was conceived and sponsored by UNICEF Communication for Development Unit to strengthen P/I communication planning and to provide UNICEF field staff and local partners with suitable guidance. The study aimed to provide insights on key issues, needs, next steps, potential elements and strategies that should be considered in future technical guidance on P/I community- and household-based communication. Data were collected via review and analysis of secondary data, communication models and P/I communication plans as well as an experience survey including 19 in-depth interviews with senior officers from international organizations and local governments. Our findings validate the need for P/I communication technical guidelines, confirm the existing divide on P/I communication preparedness among different world's regions, and identify existing obstacles. Key needs and recommended elements were related to: further clarity on behavioral results of P/I communication; role of international agencies on global and in-country coordination; capacity building at community and government levels; pre-pandemic communications; P/I awareness levels; risk mapping and assessment; and community consultation.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Identify key obstacles to P/I communication planning and preparedness in different world’s regions: 2) List key needs, issues, theoretical and practical elements that should be considered for inclusion in technical guidance for pandemic flu communications; 3) Discuss differences in P/I communication preparedness and plans in different countries.

Keywords: Communication, Community-Based Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the study's first author. I designed and conducted this study under contract with UNICEF- New York Headquarters. Also, please see below short bio on my background and experience. Renata Schiavo, Ph.D., M.A. is the Founder and Principal of Strategic Communication ResourcesSM, which focuses only on non-profit health organizations, foundations, associations and other US and international public health organizations. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Health at New York University, Steinhardt School, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, where she is on the faculty of the Community Public Health and Global Public Health M.P.H. programs (Courses: Health Communication: Theory and Practice; Cross-Cultural Health Communications). Renata has over 18 years of international healthcare experience, which includes the US, and several countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa. Her work has focused, in addition to others, on the following health areas: oncology/cancer, HIV/AIDS, malaria, leishmaniasis, CNS disorders/mental health, cardiovascular diseases, women’s health, respiratory diseases, obesity, biotechnology, infectious diseases, childhood immunization, adolescent immunization, flu immunization, global handwashing, tuberculosis, kids cancers, Lyme disease, pandemic flu, and primary nocturnal enuresis. Renata is a member of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the National Association of Medical Communicators (NAMC), the Public Health Association of New York City (PHANYC) and the Society for Public Health Education and Promotion (SOPHE). She served as the 2007-2008 Chair of the APHA Health Communication Working Group. She also serves on the APHA Governing Council as a representative of the APHA Public Health Education and Promotion section (PHEHP). She is a member of the advisory board of Cases in Public Health Communication and Marketing, an on-line peer-reviewed journal. Renata has also contributed with articles and opinions to the Communication Initiative (CI) and is a member of the COMBI (Communication for Behavioral Impact) Global Technical Network (GTN), which is maintained by the World Health Organization (WHO). She is the author of a book on Health Communication: From Theory to Practice (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, April 2007) and other peer-reviewed publications in the field of health communication.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.