About this I-Kit
The I-Kit may be used by a variety of national and international level stakeholders and actors involved in the development, execution and/or review of communication preparedness plans and trainings.
Officials, policy makers and leaders in ministries and other government entities whose country are vulnerable to an Ebola outbreak can use this I-Kit to identify their country’s or region’s communication needs for responding to an Ebola outbreak and/or to develop national communication plans.
Health communication experts in Ministries of Health and national or international organizations can use the I-Kit to develop Ebola communication preparedness strategies tailored to their country’s stage of outbreak and the resulting risk levels and communication needs. In many countries, the health promotion/education division is responsible for community engagement and social mobilization. While the public information/media engagement function might also be part of the health promotion/education division, it is also possible that it is located elsewhere within the Ministry of Health or within another ministry altogether. Some countries may have a designated national emergency communication focal person to coordinate a response. That person in that role may be a medical officer, epidemiologist or health promotion officer. What is important is to bring all of the communication partners together so that efforts for Ebola are harmonized.
Communication and media stakeholders in the government and in national or international organizations can use the I-Kit to understand how their efforts fit into the larger emergency risk communication efforts of the country and to train spokespeople on their role in the communication response.
National or global organization health communication trainers can use the I-Kit to develop inclusive and participatory national communication strategies, orient key stakeholders on developing strategies, and/or train other stakeholders on how to develop and implement communication strategies for Ebola communication preparedness.
In the early part of the 2014–15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, a lack of adequate and appropriate communication fueled fear, panic and denial; spread misconceptions and myths; and contributed to the further spread of the disease. Communication was quickly acknowledged as a key element of any crisis or emergency preparedness plan.
This is why countries in West Africa and around the world are developing preparedness plans in the event that Ebola reaches their populations. The World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting these efforts and has prepared an Ebola Response Roadmap for countries to follow when developing their responses to the Ebola epidemic.
Effective communication plays a critical role in:
Providing accurate and relevant information and guidance to the public, particularly in emergencies
Dispelling myths and misconceptions
Maintaining public trust
Coordinating all stakeholders
Helping communities and countries recover from an emergency
Risk communication and SBCC should therefore be part of any Ebola plan to help countries tackle the Ebola virus at all stages of an outbreak—from prevention and preparedness to crisis response to recovery.
This I-Kit contains the following core components:
Background information on Ebola, SBCC and risk communication, including several theories identified during UNICEF/CDC-led regional Ebola communication preparedness workshops
Information on the development and operationalization of country coordinating mechanisms for communication within the Ebola response
A review of the stages of emergency communication preparedness, and guidance for each stage, including key considerations
Key considerations and best practices for community engagement for Ebola communication
Information on conducting rapid assessments for effective Ebola communication responses
Key considerations for planning Ebola communication activities, particularly around establishing priorities and communication channels
A sample Ebola communication strategy that can be adapted to local situations
Guidance on options for communication responses in a variety of scenarios and response levels—provided in the form of an easy to use table, the options include appropriate and practical responses at the household, community, service and structural levels
Information for mobilizers about the best ways to prepare and mobilize Ebola emergency teams
A strategic Ebola communication framework that serves as a tool for stakeholders as they develop and implement SBCC for Ebola preparedness—the framework is a roadmap that can be tailored to local and national level contexts to communicate critical information concerning Ebola, such as modes of transmission, levels of risk and methods of prevention
A review of relevant health communication models
Links to relevant communication tools and checklists for SBCC and risk communication implementation—to guide users through each stage of the strategic communication development process
Sample best practices for controlling the outbreak from countries that responded to the outbreak—this section also provides lessons learned about strategies and approaches
Other relevant resources such as WHO guides and adaptable high-quality communication materials in a compendium of resources