The Tripartite Zoonoses Guide was jointly developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the World Health Organization to support countries in taking a multisectoral One Health approach to address zoonotic diseases.
Fostering One Health Risk Communication Systems & Coordination
One Health is a multi-disciplinary, cross-sector approach, working at the local, national, and international levels, to combat health issues that arise at the human-animal-environment interface. It recognizes that the changing interactions between people, animals, plants, and our shared environment influence the public’s health, and aims to achieve optimal health outcomes through a collaborative, multisectoral approach to designing and implementing programs, policies, legislation, and research.
One Health has become more critical than ever as human populations grow and expand into new geographic areas where they come into more frequent contact with animals and their environments. The control of emerging and existing zoonotic diseases, which spread between animals and people, is one area where a One Health approach can be particularly useful. Other key areas that can benefit from this approach include ensuring food safety and combating antibiotic resistance.
What Is the Role of Risk Communication in a One Health Approach?
Risk communication is one of the core capacities needed to prepare and respond to infectious disease threats, as outlined in the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations. It is the real-time exchange of information, advice, and opinions between experts or officials and people who face a threat to their survival, health, or economic or social well-being, to enable those at risk to take action to protect their health and interrupt transmission of the disease. Risk communication capacity is essential because effective emergency response often depends on complex behavioral changes at the individual, household, community, and societal levels. Shifting behavioral and social norms requires robust and trustworthy risk communication interventions that integrate evidence-based social and behavior change approaches to:
- Establish and maintain communication systems that facilitate the coordinated engagement of communities prior to and throughout the duration of and recovery from an event.
- Enable multiple stakeholders to speak and engage the public with one harmonized voice across communication channels.
- Foster trust and dialogue between communities and the health system that enhance surveillance and early reporting.
The WHO’s Joint External Evaluation tool evaluates a country’s risk communication capacity in five main areas: (1) risk communication systems; (2) internal and partner communication and coordination; (3) public communication; (4) communication engagement with affected communities; and (5) addressing perceptions, risky behaviors, and misinformation.
Building risk communication capacity facilitates public confidence and trust in public systems when information can change rapidly and there are many unknowns. Using lessons learned from global tools and previous outbreak events, the government and its partners should undertake preparedness and strengthen risk communication systems and capacity during times when there is no acute emergency so that when the next emergency occurs they can maintain the public’s trust through rapid, reliable, and ongoing communication. Ideally, preparedness for effective emergency risk communication runs alongside preparedness for all other aspects of the response as part of a harmonized framework for public health emergency operations, so that communication, laboratory, surveillance, supply chain, health personnel, and all other stakeholders are prepared to work closely together. This systematic collaboration is often practiced through joint outbreak preparedness exercises or simulations. In the response phase, risk communication supports the rapid adoption of behavior change in affected communities, which can influence the speed at which an outbreak is brought under control.
Fostering One Health Risk Communication Systems and Coordination for Preparedness
Risk communication using a One Health approach may leverage mass and social media campaigns to raise awareness of zoonotic diseases and prevention methods; engage in rumor tracking and misinformation management; and train service providers as well as cadres of community workers and volunteers from the human, animal, and environmental health sectors, civil society groups, and media professionals on how to effectively communicate and engage the public on One Health issues. Critical to the success of these efforts are activities that include creating systems for internal and external partner coordination and facilitating dynamic exchange of technical expertise and resources to support multi-sector preparedness and response. Multisectoral risk communication is a foundational element of the One Health approach.
Strengthening capacities for risk communication systems and coordination may include identification and training of risk communication units at national and sub-national levels, establishment of coordination platforms with supporting knowledge management tools, or high-level coordination tools, communication strategies, standard operating procedures, and message guides. These systems and tools help to leverage the diverse expertise and networks across sectors to support actors working at all levels within a country to address preparedness and response with harmonized approaches, thereby reducing confusion and increasing the impact of risk communication efforts on the desired behavior change.
|Benchmarks use to assess risk communication capacity for systems and coordination include:
Risk Communication Systems and Coordination During Infectious Disease Outbreak Response
Regular coordination meetings help to ensure that resources are used efficiently, providing forums where stakeholders can outline roles and responsibilities, and identify areas of overlap in their One Health priorities. Such structures also help to strengthen relationships of trust between governmental and non-governmental officials, and between officials at the national, regional, and local levels, and between public systems and communities. When these systems are tested and improved upon in times of preparedness, they help strengthen confidence in public systems and official information that is critical for a successful, rapid response in future emergencies.
When a new disease outbreak occurs—such as with Ebola or COVID-19—One Health risk communication systems play an important role in responding quickly. The established structures, relationships, and tools such as messaging guides and standard operating procedures can be leveraged and rapidly adapted to engage the public with accurate, timely, and evolving information, and respond to concerns or misinformation with one credible voice.
Additionally, with systems in place, key contacts are familiar with one another and able to rapidly engage, share information, and collaborate on outbreak response efforts. Thus, stakeholders avoid duplication of efforts, instead relying on the foundational One Health systems to mitigate the impact of the outbreak quickly and effectively.
This online course on risk communication includes a set of five modules covering: what is risk communication and why it is important; key elements of risk communication; risk communication capacities, such as policy, strategies and evaluation; spokesperson tips and message development; and exercises that can be used to test preparedness in communicating risks.
FAO developed this National Framework for One Health to assist national authorities in initiating steps to strengthen the control of antimicrobial resistance and disease in a comprehensive manner through collaborative action among various sectors.
Outbreak READY! is a digital simulation that strengthens the readiness of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to respond to large-scale infectious disease outbreaks in humanitarian contexts.
This Operational Framework provides a practical reference toward achieving public health systems preparedness and resilience to existing and future disease threats at the human-animal-environment interface. It offers a comprehensive overview of the One Health concept and operational guidance for One Health application (what, why, and how), serving as a detailed orientation for users who wish to understand and implement this approach.
This case study highlights how, as part of its Community Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness Programme, the Kenya Red Cross adopted a whole society, all-hazard approach to epidemic and pandemic readiness and embedded a One Health approach in community health promotion and community-based surveillance activities.
These guidelines provide evidence-based guidance on how risk communication should be practiced in an emergency, including guidance to countries on building capacity for communicating risk during health emergencies. This includes guidance on: building trust and engaging with communities and affected populations; integrating risk communication into existing national and local emergency preparedness and response structures; and emergency risk communication practice—from strategizing, planning, coordinating, messaging, channeling, and different methods and approaches of communication and engagement, to monitoring and evaluation—based on a systematic assessment of the evidence on what worked and what did not work during recent emergencies.
This document provides key messages for individuals and communities on how to prepare for and stay safe during pandemics and epidemics.
The purpose of this manual is to provide expert guidance on the planning and preparation needed for epidemic prevention and control. The manual focuses on practical and essential knowledge about infectious diseases for national political and operational decision makers.
This webinar provides an overview of the One Health concept and practical guidance on entry points for One Health approaches targeted to humanitarian sector operations for outbreak response. A key goal of the webinar is to promote dialogue on how One Health strategies can be best leveraged to add value to existing humanitarian operations to improve readiness for health threats and emergencies at the human-animal-environment interface. This event was hosted by the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance-supported READY initiative. Presentation slides are also available.
This kit aims to help NGOs strengthen their disease outbreak preparedness and respond quickly and effectively to emerging epidemics and pandemics.
The objectives of this study were to conduct a mapping of key actors involved in risk communication in Mali and to make recommendations for improving multisectoral and multidisciplinary coordination while taking into account the One Health approach. In addition, the study was designed to investigate the involvement and role played by the structures surveyed in the management of the Ebola virus disease epidemic that affected Mali in 2014. The study was carried out by Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) through the Breakthrough ACTION project.
This is a study conducted in response to the recommendations of the joint external evaluation of the Ivorian health regulations implementation in December 2016. This mapping was done to begin to fill in the gaps in the coordination of risk communication of the actors and structures involved in this form of communication in Côte d'Ivoire.
This message guide marks the beginning of a new stage in risk communication on identified priority zoonotic diseases; it contributes to preparedness and a harmonized response to major epidemic outbreaks in Guinea.
This key message guide on zoonotic diseases stresses the benefits of the multisectoral and multidisciplinary One Health approach, which allows for the establishment of national coordination, communication, and collaboration mechanisms to combat health threats at the human-animal-environment interface—including known and emerging zoonotic diseases.
This message guide provides a reference for presenting accurate, standardized, basic health information in simple language, using a health message format relevant to the prevention and management of anthrax, brucellosis, highly pathogenic avian influenza, Rift Valley fever, and rabies in Ethiopia.
This manual provides the framework for the implementation of all communications activities during a public health emergency, as well as the framework for coordination and collaboration of partners and stakeholders.
This communication plan for rabies control responds to the recommendation that communication should be a major focus of the national integrated rabies control program in Côte d'Ivoire. It was designed under the leadership of the Direction des Services Vétérinaires and the National Institute of Public Health in collaboration with all actors involved in the implementation of the One Health approach, with the technical and financial support of Breakthrough ACTION in Côte d'Ivoire.
This guide attempts to provide simple, practical guidance in developing a response to rumors and misinformation about COVID-19.
With the support of USAID/Breakthrough ACTION, this guide was developed by crisis and emergency risk communication committee members within the framework of animal and environmental health as recommended by the "One Health" concept, in order to assist health promotion actors in managing Ebola virus disease rumors.
This document is intended to support implementation of the National Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) Strategy developed as an outcome of Ghana’s coordinated and collaborative response to communicating with the public and all stakeholders on the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides guidance on what is to be done, by who, where, and when in applying risk communication and social mobilization actions when public health emergencies arise.
This National Communication Strategy for Social and Behavioral Change on the six priority zoonotic diseases in Senegal for the period 2020–2024 is the result of collaboration between various ministerial sectors, civil society organizations, and the country's technical and financial partners.
This national risk communication strategy document was developed in collaboration with One Health stakeholders in Cote d'Ivoire, with support from Breakthrough ACTION. It focuses on the country's five priority zoonotic diseases and has been structured according to the main phases of health threat management (preparation, response, and recovery).