06 September 2014

Ebola shows how (not) to communicate in a health crisis

IFRC - the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - has spoken plainly about communication problems during the Ebola outbreak in Eastern Africa.

Ebola is scary because there is currently no proven cure. This has led to panic and strict controls, including border closures. That has limited the options for agencies, like IFRC, that are trying to help solve the crisis and treat the victims.

Though this story is full of development sector jargon, the message is clear: get people involved at all levels and don't just issue commands, but also listen and get local people involved.

"the communication approach in these circumstances should be “less top-down and less giving orders,” and not just limited to the agencies and their volunteers on the ground. It should be a multi-stakeholder effort, involving the corporate sector, the media and community leaders, with the government in a lead role. [Everyone] has a role to play here."

Read more on Devex.com