Online Program

Ebola Must GO: Stopping Ebola is Everybody's Business

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Jana Telfer, MA, Office of Communication/Office of Science, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Peter Harrington, Infrastructure Development Partnership, LLC, London, United Kingdom
Stephen Douglas, Consultant, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Nathan Huebner, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Felicia Warren, LT, USPHS, MPH, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
In November 2014, the Liberian President challenged her nation to reach zero new Ebola cases by Christmas. Ministry officials then challenged CDC and a committee of communication advisors to develop a campaign to “get to zero.” Within eight days, Liberia launched an evidence-based, two-track campaign that supported reducing new confirmed cases to zero. Two Ministries co-led the campaign, one leading public awareness, the other social mobilization. Public awareness products and strategies were designed to reinforce social mobilization activities.

KAP surveys demonstrated that Liberians knew Ebola was real. But the numerous existing messages lacked focus on the specific actions science said would stop the spread. “Ebola Must GO” messages used positive framing to show how these steps could be taken by every person, family and community. Evidence-based messages were structured using a research-based model to enhance retention, validated with Liberians and field-tested with front-line volunteers.

Reducing cases to zero demanded significant behavior change in culturally sensitive practices and normative change such as sharing information about Ebola cases. Rapid product production was undertaken to support consistent message dissemination; reinforcement by key influencers, such as traditional chiefs; and layering through proven channels such as radio and mobile telephone. National and international partners incorporated messages in their outreach activities, ensuring consistency in message regardless of agency or location within the country.

By mid-January, Liberia was recording less than one new confirmed case daily.

This campaign models how integrated, multi-channel health communication can lead to measurable behavior change in an environment with limited infrastructure at a time of extreme emergency.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe elements needed in an effective communication campaign aimed at epidemic control Understand the importance of evidence-based information in formulating communication campaigns

Keyword(s): Health Promotion and Education, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: One of CDC's senior risk communication specialists, Jana L. Telfer spent nearly 3 months in West Africa working with the Liberian Ministries of Health and Information in the Ebola response. During the Fukushima nuclear incident, she was in Japan to help the U.S. Ambassador. As an expert in applied crisis, emergency and risk communication, she values sharing information to help people under stress make better decisions.
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.