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British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, ISSN: 2231-0614,Vol.: 13, Issue.: 10

Opinion Article

Risk Communication and Generic Preparedness: From Agent-based to Action-based Planning - A Conceptual Framework


P. Dickmann1*, F. J. Apfel2 and R. Gottschalk3,4

1Dickmann Risk Communication (DRC), London, United Kingdom.

2World Health Communication Associates (WHCA), Compton Bishop, United Kingdom.

3Health Protection Authority, City of Frankfurt, Breite Gasse 28, 60313 Frankfurt, Germany.

4Institute of Medical Virology, Hospital of the Goethe University of Frankfurt, Paul-Ehrlich-Str. 40, 60596 Frankfurt, Germany.

Article Information


(1) Fuhong SU, ICU Laboratory, Erasme Hospital, Free University Brussels, Brussels, Belgium.


(1) Marcos De Donato, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.

(2) Diana C. Tapia-Pancardo, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico.

(3) Sukhmeet Minhas, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, India.

Complete Peer review History: http://sciencedomain.org/review-history/13293


Responses to recent infectious disease outbreaks, such as to Influenza Pandemic 2009 and the on-going Ebola outbreak in West Africa, reveal the need for new and strengthened approaches to risk communication and governance. The article argues for a fundamental re-conceptualisation of current approaches to risk communication, preparedness planning and response. It calls for a reframing of the way we currently identify and respond to outbreaks around a set of core behaviour-based response patterns. This new model moves away from the current risk communication focus on a plethora of agent-specific threats to five generic response patterns that are based on socially relevant response activities such as 1) controlling vectors, 2) enhancing hygiene, 3) isolation of the sick, 4) protection of the well, and 5) systemic protection of people and their environments. Emphasis is placed on gaining relevant insights into the context specific needs of different communities related to these five patterns. Governance structures are then built and evaluated based on their capacity to collect, communicate, share and prepare the public to take appropriate action related to the five different patterns before, during and after an event. Reframing risk communication and preparedness approaches around a better understanding of the determinants of these general behavioural patterns in infectious control could strengthen infection control literacy, response competence and build resilience of both individuals and health systems to address future epidemics, pandemics and other public health threats.

Keywords :

Governance; risk communication; generic preparedness; pandemic preparedness; influenza pandemic; public health.

Full Article - PDF    Page 1-5

DOI : 10.9734/BJMMR/2016/24033

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