[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
BMC Public Health. 2019 May 10;19(Suppl 3):475. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-6778-1.
Progress in Public Health Risk Communication in China: Lessons Learned From SARS to H7N9
Melinda Frost 1 2, Richun Li 3 4, Ronald Moolenaar 3 4, Qun’an Mao 5, Ruiqian Xie 6
Affiliations: 1 Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org. 2 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China. email@example.com. 3 Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA. 4 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China. 5 National Health Commission, Beijing, China. 6 Chinese Center for Health Education, Beijing, China.
PMID: 32326919 DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-6778-1
Following the SARS outbreak, the World Health Organization revised the International Health Regulations to include risk communication as one of the core capacity areas. In 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Global Disease Detection [GDD] program began collaborating with China to enhance China’s risk communication capacity to address gaps in the SARS communication response. This article describes tangible improvements in China’s public health emergency risk communication capacity between the SARS and H7N9 outbreaks; documents U.S. CDC GDD cooperative technical assistance during 2006-2017; and shares lessons learnt to benefit other countries and contribute to enhance global health security.
A questionnaire based on the WHO Joint External Evaluation tool [Risk Communication section] was developed. A key communications official from the China National Health Commission [NHC] completed the questionnaire retrospectively to reflect China’s capacity to manage communication response before, during and after the outbreaks of SARS in 2003, influenza H1N1 in 2009, and influenza H7N9 in 2013. A literature search was also conducted in English and Chinese to further substantiate the results of the questionnaire completed by NHC.
China demonstrated significantly improved risk communication capacities of pre-event, during event and post event responses to H7N9 when compared to the SARS response. China NHC improved its response through preparedness, availability of dedicated staff and resources for risk communication, internal clearance mechanisms, standard operating procedures with national response parties external to NHC, rumor management, communication with international agencies and consistent messaging with healthcare and private sectors. Correspondingly, the perceived level of trust that the public had in the NHC following outbreaks rose between the SARS and H7N9 response.
Risk communication capacities in China have increased during the ten years between the SARS outbreak of 2003 and the H7N9 outbreak of 2013. Long-term risk communication capacity building efforts in bilateral collaborations are uncommon. The U.S. CDC GDD project was one of the first such collaborations worldwide. The lessons learned from this project may benefit lower and middle-income countries as they build their national emergency risk communication capacity.
Keywords: China; Global disease detection; Global health security; H7N9; International health regulations; Risk communications; SARS.
Keywords: Pandemic Preparedness; Public Health; China; Society; SARS; Avian Influenza; H7N9.