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Effective Risk Communication for Public Health Emergencies and the Role of Social Media

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
3 - 4 June 2013 Sunkyoung Lee Political and Economic Department ASEF Public Health Network Public Health



Venue:
Bali, Indonesia

Risk communication plays a vital role in mitigating the adverse impacts of a public health emergency. However, recent events have shown that risk communication is not easy to manage. Trust is a key element in the internal decision-making process, when informing the public, and in managing the relations between the authorities and the media. In addition, the increasing use of social media in communication and news gathering has completely changed the playing field.

The ASEF Public Health Network will bring together a number of stakeholders in risk communication from different sectors, ranging from communication experts at government agencies and international organisations, to private sector representative, health correspondents, and online opinion leaders. They will analyse two recent public health emergencies, the E. coli case[1] and the “Triple Disaster”[2], to identify challenges and gaps to current risk communication strategies. Subsequently they will develop recommendations to address these issues and make these recommendations future-proof by testing them against the ASEF-ASAP future scenarios.

The ASEF Public Health Network has taken a future-oriented scenario approach since 2010. The Network used a set of scenarios to develop strategic options, contributing to multi-sector pandemic preparedness and response. Recognising that many of the lessons learned from these exercises are also applicable to other public health emergencies, the Network aims to address the issue of trust as well as the role of social media in risk communication for public health emergencies in order to make risk communication a more effective tool in risk management.



[1] 2011, Germany

[2] Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown, 2011, Japan

Sponsors

  • Government of Japan
This project is sponsored by the Government of Japan.

Project Updates

  • The report of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Public Health Network’s workshop on Effective Risk Communication for Public Health Emergencies and the Role of Social Media is now available online.

    The participants of this multi-actor workshop identified challenges and worked out plans to improve the effectiveness of risk communication for public health emergencies. The outcome is a set of three proposals on innovative approaches to social media mapping, integrating health dialogue and media in emergency planning, and developing an open-source big data management system.

    The report contains detailed descriptions of these proposals and is available for download here.

  • Improving Risk Communication

    Published on 09 Sep 2013

    ASEF’s Project Executive, Mr Peter LUTZ attended a conference on “Communicating Infectious Disease Risk in a Dangerous Decade: From Emergencies to Prevention” on 26-27 June 2013 in Hong Kong SAR. The event was organised by the Journalism and Media Studies Centre of Hong Kong University. Mr LUTZ presented the outcomes of ASEF’s workshop on ‘Effective Risk Communication for Public Health Emergencies and the Role of Social Media’ that took place on 3-4 June 2013, in Bali, Indonesia.

    The Hong Kong conference brought together experts and practitioners from public health, science, communication, and the social sciences to share their experiences, identify weaknesses and suggest new ways of effective communication, with the objective to improve people’s understanding of the risk of emerging infectious diseases so that they can respond more effectively towards such risk.

    The conference focussed on the emergence of new diseases, lessons learned on risk communication from the SARS pandemic, building communication capacity in Asia, communicating risk to communities, communication for better behavioural intervention, linking the global and local gaps and challenges in communication, and the role of social media in risk communication.

  • The ASEF Public Health Network organised a workshop on “Effective Risk Communication for Public Health Emergencies and the Role of Social Media” on 3-4 June 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. The workshop brought together over 30 representatives from international, regional, national, and civil society organisations, as well as from the academia, media, and private sector.

    The workshop examined the similarities and differences in current risk communication plans at three different organisations (World Health Organization – Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WHO-WPRO), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRD), and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport of the Netherlands) and looked at the lessons learned from two relevant case-studies from 2011. The first case-study related to the E.coli outbreak in Europe, while the second looked at Japan’s nuclear disaster following the earthquake and tsunami.

    Using these case studies, participants identified and worked out plans to improve the effectiveness of risk communication for public health emergencies. The outcome is a set of three proposals on innovative approaches to social media mapping, integrating health dialogue and media in emergency planning, and developing an open-source mass data management system. The details of these proposals will be published on the ASEF website in July.

    This workshop was organised in collaboration with the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare of the Republic of Indonesia and technical assistance was provided by WHO-WPRO.

  • Effective Risk Communication

    Published on 03 Jun 2013

    The ASEF Public Health Network organised the workshop ‘Effective Risk Communication for Public Health Emergencies and the Role of Social Media’, 3-4 June 2013, in Bali, Indonesia. This was the final workshop under the Public Health Network’s ASEF-ASAP (Accurate Scenarios Active Preparedness) project.

    The workshop participants conducted two case-studies, the first on the E.coli outbreak in Europe and the second on Japan’s nuclear disaster following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The case studies were undertaken to identify gaps in current risk communication strategies related to these incidents.

    One of the main topics of discussion during the workshop was the issue of ‘trust’ in communication and its impact on internal communication between authorities and external communication with the general public. Subsequently, the participants developed recommendations to address these issues, while these recommendations were also tested against the ASEF-ASAP scenarios to gauge their applicability in the future.

    The workshop brought together a diverse group of stakeholders in risk communication, from international, regional, and national organisations, to representatives from civil society organisations, academia, media and online opinion leaders. A report with a summary of the outcomes of their discussions will be available soon online.

  • Call for Proposal

    Published on 02 Apr 2013

    The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Public Health Network invites consulting firms specialised in foresight exercise to prepare, facilitate, and report on the ASEF Public Health Network’s workshop on “Effective Risk Communication for Public Health Emergencies and the Role of Social Media” in June 2013.

    The work will commence in mid May 2013. The workshop will take place on 3-4 June 2013 in Bail, Indonesia.

    In light of the above, we request the following services:

    • Assist ASEF in designing the format of the workshop by contributing technical expertise;
    • Collaborate with ASEF on identifying communication specialists and potential participants;
    • Facilitate the workshop (case studies, workgroup discussions, development and testing of recommendations);
    • Produce a report of the workshop.

    The selected consultant will have to submit:

    • A facilitation plan, design and tentative programme for the workshop
    • A workshop report and recommendation paper

    Deadline for Proposal Submission:

    The interested consulting firm should submit application form (maximum 5 pages), which contains brief information about the company and methodology to implement the activities.

    The proposals should be received by Tuesday, 23 April 2013.

    Please find the Call for Proposals and Application Form under documents section of this page.

    Enquiries and applications should be directed to:
    Mr Peter LUTZ, Project Executive, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)
    E-mail: peter.lutz@asef.org

    T: +65 6874 9751