Chapter 3. Checklist for setting up an Ebola communication coordinating mechanism

 This checklist can help country teams think through the development and operationalization of a coordinating mechanism for communication within the national Ebola response.

Teams should pay particular attention to how their answers address the Ebola communication response capacity at the national and subnational/district levels.

How to use this checklist

Review this checklist before and during planning for the Ebola communication components of a national Ebola preparedness response. The information can help country teams design more robust mechanisms for information sharing, intervention monitoring and feedback to ensure consistent and effective SBCC throughout an Ebola outbreak.

Which communication components need to be added or strengthened within the National Ebola Response Plan?

Central Ebola Response Mechanism

1. Does the central Ebola response mechanism include an SBCC pillar or pillars around SM/community engagement and media/communication?
2. Is the central response mechanism linked with:

District-level Ebola response centers

District-level health management teams

National and international partners

3. Do the central/national and district levels have functional feedback loops for the quick dissemination of accurate information?

 Social Mobilization/Communication Pillars

4. Is there a communication coordination mechanism that encompasses all types of communication, including activities that typically fall under SM/community engagement and media? This hybrid mechanism could fall under the title “social and behavior change communication.”

5. If there is not a communication pillar, are there other structural coordinating mechanisms that cover the focus areas of SM/community engagement and media/communications?

6. Are there TOR and/or SOPs for an Ebola communication pillar (or SM/media/communications) in the central Ebola Coordination mechanism?

7. Do the TOR/SOPs include these components:

Engaging individuals and communities through community champions, door-to-door campaigns, distribution of materials and discussions within community groups, and other community initiatives.

Communication through national spokespersons and media, such as print, radio and other broadcasts

Safety measures for social mobilizers.

 Coordination Mechanism for Ebola Communication

8. Do the existing SM and communication pillars under the central Ebola Coordination mechanism engage communities with information and two-way communication to help them understand and take ownership of their situation and perform the necessary actions to prevent Ebola?

9. Do the Ebola Communication components under the central Ebola Response Coordination mechanism provide support for the following core functions at the national and local levels?


Ensuring representation among responding agencies

Harmonization of efforts

Consistency of practice

Awareness of activities


Creating/sustaining partnerships

Developing and implementing response game plan and vision

Authorizing materials/activities/funding


Setting goals

Supporting human capacity

Leveraging resources

Advocating for the role of communication/community engagement

Providing technical assistance

Organizing/inventory of resources

Housing information management systems and capacity building

 Ebola Communication Coordination Team and Subcommittees

10. Are the Ebola Communication coordination mechanisms under the central Ebola Response providing the following functions at the national and local levels?

Develop messages and materials to promote appropriate behaviors.

Promote messages through mass media and trusted spokespersons.

Coordinate SBCC initiatives to maximize reach and rapid dissemination of accurate information.

Coordinate SM within the broader Ebola response at all levels, ensuring safe and efficient integration of mobilizers in case management, safe burials, quarantine and other areas as appropriate.

Support structures at all levels that can quickly train mobilizers on interpersonal communication interventions.

Ensure that all mobilizers have sufficient support to safely conduct activities in their local contexts and have mechanisms to report feedback.

Monitor SM and communication activities and develop a mechanism to quickly analyze and inform responses and programs.

11. Does the central Ebola communication coordination mechanism include the following key players:


Ministry of Information (Communication, etc.)

Medical and nursing associations

Intergovernmental/global health and development organizations, such as WHO and UNICEF, and international organizations, such as the International Federation of the Red Cross

Key international agencies working in the field of health and health communication

12. Can the Ebola communication coordination mechanism be mobilized immediately?

13. Is the Ebola communication coordination mechanism able to meet regularly to respond to ongoing developments including rumors, new situations and additional outbreaks as they develop?

14. Have the following (or similar) subcommittees been considered for an Ebola communication coordination mechanism?

Message Development Subcommittee to coordinate messages development and release of information among organizations, and to help avoid confusion that can undermine public trust, raise the level of fear and hinder response measures

Media Subcommittee to identify point person(s) for press conferences and message dissemination for the Ebola response group, and that includes point person(s) for communication from individual agencies participating in Ebola Response activities.

Subcommittee on Community Action at the decentralized levels—this group could maintain a list of all national and local organizations to act as additional channels for message dissemination and SM efforts at the local level. This could include mayors; religious, sports, youth or other local elected and traditional leaders; and other development sectors, such as education, agriculture, fisheries, water, etc.

Social Science Research/M&E Subcommittee to coordinate and monitor social science research to share all findings, to fill identified research gaps, to develop the Ebola Communication M&E framework and to ensure that the communication-related dashboard indicators are updated regularly.

15. Have coordination units been established, or, if they are already present, have they been strengthened at the district level in areas of active Ebola transmission, capital cities and major hubs in other transmission zones?

Integrating Ebola Communication into the Emergency Response

16. Does the central Ebola Response Coordination mechanism include social mobilizers within the trigger mechanisms for alerts that countries can develop, such that mobilizers assigned to a particular area can join the response teams?

17. Are social mobilizers being used to provide feedback mechanisms to and for the communities and help other responders to better support the communities?

18. Have SOPs for integrating SM into the national emergency response been developed?