Risk communication

The Five Keys to Safer Food

New threats to food safety are constantly emerging. Changes in food production, distribution and consumption; changes to the environment; new and emerging pathogens; antimicrobial resistance - all pose challenges to national food safety systems. Increases in travel and trade enhance the likelihood that contamination can spread internationally.

The Five Keys to Safer Food is a WHO global health message that everybody should know all over the world to prevent foodborne diseases and improve health. The Five Keys to Safer Food are now included in the recommendations to consumers to fight antimicrobial resistance.

Health workers urged to work with communities to stop Marburg virus disease


4 November 2017 - As the Marburg virus disease continues to unfold in Kween district, eastern Uganda, frontline health workers battling the outbreak have been urged to nurture local capacity to be able to respond to the current and future outbreaks.

“Community engagement is the cornerstone of emergency response. Work with the communities to build their capacity for success and sustainability,” said Dr Zabulon Yoti, WHO Technical Coordinator for Emergencies, Regional Office for Africa.

SocialNET - a WHO network of trained social scientists for integrating social science-based interventions into health emergency work


WHO has established SocialNET, a network of social scientists with the required qualifications and operational experiences to work in epidemics, pandemics and other health emergencies.

There are currently 23 social scientists trained and available to be deployed to countries in need for support in preparedness and response to health emergencies.

Online course on risk communication - open to all, anytime, from anywhere


Risk communication refers to the real-time exchange of information, advice and opinions between experts, officials and people who face a threat to their wellbeing, to enable informed decision-making and to adopt protective behaviors. It’s a core public health intervention in any disease outbreak and health emergency.

This online course, hosted by the new learning platform OpenWHO, features 5 modules of lectures and exercises to equip frontline responders and decision-makers with the information and tools they need to better manage disease outbreaks and health emergencies.

WHO responds to a new acute watery diarrhea oubtreak rumour in a remote zone in Somali region of Ethiopia

In disease outbreak situations, rumours are as valuable as actual surveillance data. In fact, disease response teams particularly surveillance officers, attach a lot of importance on rumours and investigates them until proven wrong or right.

In several instances, disease outbreak rumours have turned out to be correct thereby contributing to early containment, reduced morbidity and mortality associated with major outbreaks. This was the case recently in Somali Region where the Government of Ethiopia, WHO and other partners are battling an outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD).

Social science: Revolutionizing Emergency Response

WHO/E. Soteras Jalil

Although anthropologists have been involved in an ad hoc basis in supporting the response for disease outbreaks for decades, there is not yet a systematic and agreed upon way of integrating social science methods and interventions into all epidemics, pandemics, or health emergencies. WHO is leading the international community's attempt to agree on and systematize the integration of social science into all health emergency work.

What is risk communication?

Risk communication is an integral part of any public health emergency response. In epidemics and pandemics, in humanitarian crises and natural disasters, risk communication allows people at risk to understand and adopt protective behaviours.

It allows authorities and experts to listen to and address people’s concerns and needs so the advice they provide is relevant, trusted and acceptable. In this video, little Ksir explains why risk communication is so important.

Get the WHO Zika app

Designed to provide essential information on Zika virus disease and its suspected complications for the health care workers as well as the general public. The app is currently available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Other language versions are in the pipeline. New content, including trainings, is coming soon.




For more information about risk communication, please email: riskcommunication@who.int.