WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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PERSPECTIVE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-20

Strengthening risk communication systems for public health emergencies in the WHO South-East Asia Region


World Health Organization Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Supriya Bezbaruah
World Health Organization Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi
India
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.282990

PMID: 32341216

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Risk communication and community engagement are critical aspects of public health emergency preparedness and response and therefore one of the eight original core capacities of the International Health Regulations (2005). Joint external evaluations in eight out of eleven countries of the World Health Organization South-East Asia Region reveal that there is considerable variation in risk communication capacities among countries. Of the five areas evaluated – risk communication systems, internal and partner coordination, public communication, community engagement and listening, and risky behaviour and misinformation – the strongest areas, across the region, are partner coordination and community engagement, while risk communication systems is the weakest area and needs further strengthening. For strong and sustainable risk communication for public health emergencies in the WHO South East Asia Region, institutionalized capacity-building supported by increased budgetary allocations to this area is needed. There is a strong need for advocacy to and sensitization of key policy-makers and decision-makers at country level regarding the importance and advantages of being prepared on risk communication plans and systems.


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