Photo courtesy of UNICEF

The world of public health emergencies is changing. Our response must change with it. Not “if,” but “when” is the reality of emergency preparedness for public health. Whether it’s a disease outbreak such as Ebola, Zika, yellow fever or typhoid or a slow-moving catastrophe like global climate change, governments, donors and implementing partners must move away from a reactive response towards one of preparedness and resilience – with communities at the center.

Social and behavior change communication (SBCC) is a powerful approach to understanding the social determinants that affect people’s behaviors and shaping these behaviors into collectively protective actions. It is deeply human-centered, and addresses not only the intellectual needs of individuals and communities for factual information, but also the emotional drivers associated with behavior. When SBCC is integrated into emergency preparedness and response, it protects long-term development gains by building resilience in health systems and communities.

With the support of USAID, the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) is working with public health systems in Africa and Latin America in various phases of an emergency – from prevention and preparedness, through to crisis response and recovery.

HC3 also developed the following SBCC Emergency Helix: A Framework for for Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response with Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) which highlights the essential role of SBCC throughout a public health emergency.

More on Emergency Preparedness and SBCC

HC3 Emergency Communication Tools Shared with West African Countries Fighting Multiple Disease Outbreaks

Given the importance of implementing effective social and behavior change activities to control the spread of disease outbreaks, the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) invited the HC3 project to share risk communication tools and experiences at a joint WAHO-WHO-UNDP four-day workshop in Abuja, Nigeria on Tuesday, July 11.

A Step Toward Global Health Security

The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative worked with the Ministry of Health in Tanzania to strengthen capacity around risk communication.

Integrating Social Science Interventions in Epidemic, Pandemic and Health Emergency Response

To establish social science interventions as a core strategy in emergencies, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Wellcome Trust co-organized the Global Consultation on Integrating Social Science Interventions in Epidemic, Pandemic and Health Emergency Response, June 8-9, 2017, in London, England.

Improving Public Health Emergency Programs with SBCC Webinar and Resources

The webinar highlighted the essential relationship health systems and communities must have to prepare for, respond to and recover from an emergency.

Turning Lessons from the Past into Tools for the Future: Strengthening Response to Public Health Emergencies

HC3 held the first in a series of "Catalyzing SBCC" events and debuted The Emergency Helix during a discussion on SBCC in Public Health Emergencies. .

Speakers Announced for HC3’s Catalyzing SBCC in Public Health Emergencies Event

HC3 will hold the first in a three-part series om Catalyzing SBCC. The first will focus on the role of SBCC in emergency response.

Strengthening Emergency Response through SBCC: The Importance of Preparedness

Emergency preparedness is a prerequisite for rapid and effective…

Emergency Preparedness: Social and Behavior Change Can’t Wait

Say an emergency were to hit your community at this very moment. Would it be ready?

Using SBCC in Emergency Response: Lessons Learned from Ebola

Reverend John Sumo led social mobilization efforts for Liberia’s Ministry of Health during the Ebola crisis that ravaged West Africa in 2014 and 2015 and resulted in more than 11,000 deaths. This video debuted at the Catalyzing Social and Behavior Change Communication in Public Health Emergencies event, held November 10 in Washington, DC.