Working together during the COVID-19 pandemic
ASEF PHN has been working on Risk Communication for PHEs since 2013. Risk Communication is one of the 8 core capacities defined in the International Health Regulations (IHR) which all WHO Member States are required to comply with. Between 2017 to 2019, ASEF PHN implemented a series of High-level Meetings focusing on Risk Communication & Leadership (2017), How Can We Include Migrants & Ethnic Minorities (2018), and Risk Communication Beyond the Country Borders (2019) for effective Risk Communication during PHEs. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulation (2005) (IHR). The outbreak caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continued to spread across the continents, including Asia and Europe. On 11 March 2020, WHO announced COVID-19 as a pandemic. This previously unknown virus with no effective treatment options has been posing significant challenges with its uncertain nature and rapidly evolving information. In 2021, ASEF PHN will continue to work on Risk Communication for PHEs with a focus on how we can work together during the COVID-19 pandemic by sharing best practices and lessons learnt.
About the online conference
The overall aim of the online conference is to strengthen countries’ capacity to implement effective Risk Communication for PHEs. The conference provides a platform for bi-regional exchange on the best practices and lessons learnt related to Risk Communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a closed-door event via invitation only and goes online for approximately 2.5 hours for 3 days (starting at 16:00 SGT). The specific theme for the sessions of each day were selected through a survey disseminated among ASEF PHN alumni prior to the conference.
Objectives of the online conference
- To address the challenges in Risk Communication identified during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- To develop recommendations from the best Risk Communication practices and lessons learnt; and
- To identify the areas of inter-national/inter-sectoral collaboration to improve Risk Communication for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as other EIDs in the future
The online conference will aim to include the following audiences: i) Government officials in charge of health emergencies and emergency risk communication; ii) Government officials from sectors other than health that are involved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and iii) Representatives from civil society, including Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), International Organisations (IOs) and academia.
The online conference will foster the exchange of good practices and lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic in establishing and improving Risk Communication processes between Asia and Europe. The outcome of the conference will be summarised as a report containing the key recommendations.