Communicating for health

Framework for effective communications

WHO recognizes that effective, integrated and coordinated communication is integral to carrying out WHO’s goal to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. This is a Framework for effectively communicating WHO information, advice and guidance across the broad range of health issues: from chronic health issues to emerging and novel risks.

Purpose and background

WHO recognizes that effective, integrated and coordinated communication is integral to carrying out WHO’s goal to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. The purpose of this Framework is to describe a strategic approach for effectively communicating WHO information, advice and guidance across a broad range of health issues: from chronic health issues to emerging and novel risks.

WHO has made a significant investment to meet the growing need for information, advice and guidance, from increasing capacity to improved integration of available communication channels including media relations, social and online communications, branding, visual communications, and health and emergency risk communications. WHO needs all employees to understand and use communications effectively to achieve programmatic goals.

This strategic approach is presented as a framework of principles for effective practice that apply to a broad range of communications functions. It reflects inputs and review by WHO communicators across WHO’s country, regional and headquarters offices. Tactics and easy-to-use resources are included to develop communication products and activities that apply the principles. If these tactics and resources are used, communication at all levels of the Organization can be improved.

The Framework is not designed to narrowly focus on strategies unique to diseases, specific health observances, or geographic regions. Instead, the principles, tactics, and resources, can be used by communicators to develop specific regional, disease-focused, or events-based strategies to be more actionable, accessible, relevant, timely, understandable, and credible. It is a resource and reference, designed for continuous updates and additions as advised proposed by all WHO staff involved in communications.

What we do

The principles highlighted in this Framework apply across the whole of WHO’s communications work. Core WHO communications functions are presented below with links to relevant resources.