It’s a win for Ebola prevention efforts that over 120 people in Liberia were placed under observation due to a resurgent outbreak in the country, even after it was declared Ebola-free. This signals that Liberia’s containment efforts are still strong. But it’s essential to remain vigilant: as the epidemic wanes, public complacency around sustaining behaviors that prevent Ebola transmission could be a barrier to stemming the flow of new cases for good.
This new Ebola Preparedness Implementation Kit (I-Kit) explains that all emergencies evolve in phases, as do emergency communication efforts. The Ebola outbreak is in Stage 4 of emergency communication: Resolution. Reported new cases have decreased significantly, SBCC interventions are well underway and regular informing of the public is ongoing. We’re certainly on “the Road to Zero,” and sustaining momentum so that preventative behaviors like hand-washing remain the status quo is crucial for actually getting there.
In the I-Kit, we outline creating a centralized mechanism for Ebola communication response, focusing on social mobilization and media/communication coordinating mechanisms; we also provide guidance on developing an Ebola communication strategy with step-by-step illustrative examples.
Some of the most helpful features in the I-Kit are interactive, like our Checklist for putting a communication coordinating mechanism in place. The I-Kit’s appendices are also rich with resources, like a conceptual framework for control and prevention of Ebola, and an overview of the relevant health communication theories put explicitly into the Ebola communication context.
We encourage you to explore our Ebola Preparedness I-Kit and to pass it along. Headlines in the West may have shifted the public’s focus away from Ebola—but the global response is far from over.