Online Program

Levers for behavioural change

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 11:20 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Susan Belfourd, Public Health Wales, Cardiff, CF11 9LJ, United Kingdom
Effective communications are an essential element of outbreak management. We describe how we used a variety of communications strategies to change public understanding and parental attitudes.

Stakeholders Good communication with and by our stakeholders, including local and central government, was essential in bringing about support from organisations across Wales. Public Health Wales coordinated the communications response across a range of organisations and between local health boards and the Welsh Government, clarifying the responsibilities of each and ensuring a swift and immediate response.

Understanding concerns A survey was carried out with parents of children whose records on the child health system showed they had not received the MMR vaccine to try and establish the reasons why. The feedback assisted public health officials in understanding – and addressing – parental resistance.

Working with the media Public Health Wales managed over 300 media enquiries and conducted over 100 broadcast interviews. Ensuring a high level of public awareness and understanding of the outbreak had to be balanced against the need not to cause undue alarm while managing unprecedented national and international media interest.

Social media Both the health boards and Public Health Wales used various social media channels to engage with parents and young people and to facilitate two-way communications.

Influencing Policy The attention given to the measles outbreak by national media influenced the national UK government to launch a catch-up campaign in England that targeted unprotected 10-18 year olds.

Learning Areas:

Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
Describe the communications support for the measles outbreak and the different methods used.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a Communications Officer for Public Health Wales for over four years and was part of the Communications Team who managed the communications response to the measles outbreak centred around the Swansea area of Wales.
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.