Public health emergency or crisis

Identify a case study from the research literature on a recent disease outbreak or
humanitarian disaster. Describe how the concepts of community mobilization, citizen
engagement, and emergency communication discussed in your textbook were applied in
this case study. In your opinion, what are the most important factors to consider when
communicating during a public health emergency or crisis?

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After the announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding an Ebola
outbreak in West Africa in 2014, various organizations were called upon to partake in the
engagement, mobilization, and sensitization activities as it was a global concern. Most
fundamentally, these activities necessitated the incorporation of an essential component dubbed
communication for development (C4D) with regards to responding to the Ebola outbreak
(Gillespie et al. 2016). As such, the objectives of the C4D component were added to the national
response strategy in every country in West Africa. Moreover, the UNICEF, lead coordinator,
worked collaboratively with the ministries of health in the countries with the highest incidents
reported. It thus incorporated other crucial elements that include clinical care, logistics, supplies,
and surveillance
According to Gillespie et al. (2016), the various initiatives applied by UNICEF in
responding to the Ebola outbreak mainly exemplify fundamental aspects about the essence of

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community engagement, mobilization, and communication of emergencies. For instance, in this
case, these aspects were used in creating awareness and educating people in countries such as
Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone through the communication for development agenda.
On the one hand, engagement of the communities occurred through investment in vital
channels of communication that included radio as well as trustworthy individuals. On the other
hand, emergency communication involved the continuous adaptation to strategic messaging
approaches across the transformation phases of the epidemic. Similarly, mobilization of the
affected communities occurred through the establishment of C4D leadership in the coordination
and enforcement of the use of standard operating procedures as the tools for assuring quality
(Gillespie et al. 2016). As such, during the communication of a public health emergency or
crisis, the most important factors to consider include development of strategic partnerships with
the community members, media channels, care facilities, and religious leaders. These should be
coupled with the use of trustworthy individuals to mobilize and sensitize the community.         

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Gillespie, A. M., Obregon, R., El Asawi, R., Richey, C., Manoncourt, E., Joshi, K., Quereshi, S.
(2016). Social Mobilization and Community Engagement Central to the Ebola Response
in West Africa: Lessons for Future Public Health Emergencies. Global Health: Science
and Practice, 4(4), 626-646.

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