Using communication to fight epidemics

Reblogged from Science on the Net

During epidemics, pandemics, natural or environmental disasters, the problem of communication is one of the primary issues to deal with, and scientists and stakeholders know this well. It is a two-sided issue: communicating risk without creating any alarms, and an effective communication between persons who manage emergencies.

In this sense, many steps forward have been realized and many others are being made. In any case, there is a huge awareness in Europe concerning the need of a better health risk communication. The changing paradigms of public communication during infectious outbreaks are the core of TELLME Project(Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence), a collaborative project co-funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme, which worked on these topics for three years. And on December 4-5, had its final conference hosted in Venice, with the intervention of national and European institutions that took part in the project.


TELLME’s main purpose was to develop new protocols for health communication, based on scientific evidence, to be applied when there are infectious disease outbreaks. It combines public health, social sciences, behavioural sciences, political sciences, law, ethics, communication and media. The aim was to develop original communication strategies regarding complicated messages and advice based on uncertainties, also addressing vaccine-resistant groups. Just visiting the project website, we realize that a considerable amount of activities have been done during these three years. Let us try to summarize here the main points that emerged from interventions during the final conference held in Venice, thus representing the lesson taught by TELLME experts.

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