Communicating risk during epidemics: Can I trust you? (Session time: 11:00-12:30 hrs)

Meeting Organizer

World Health Organization

Gaya Gamhewage

Contact Person : Gaya Gamhewage,

29 January 2018
09:00 - 12:30 hrs.

Open to All Participants


During disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies, people need to know what health risks they face, and what actions they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones. This is the purpose of risk communication(RC). Risk communication is increasingly the hallmark of any effective health emergency response. New, complex and challenging epidemics of the 21st century such as SARS 2003, MERS 2013, Pandemic H1N1 2009, Zika 2016, Ebola 2014, Plague 2017 highlight that message-based risk communications often fail with disastrous results. Recent evidence highlights what we have known but failed to practice: that without trust, our advice is likely to be ignored by affected communities, and lead to avoidable death, disease, disability and damage to the social and economic fabric of communities.


The aim of this side event is to draw on new evidence and practice to highlight how trust, as a central requirement for risk communication, can be built or lost during emergencies. After having attended the side event, the participant will be able to: (1) Describe the components of trust (2) Describe ways in which trust can be built or lost during epidemic response.