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Ebola Epidemic Provides Local Media With Critical Lessons In Health Communication

Devex: Empowering local media can make the difference: 5 lessons from the Ebola crisis
Alison Campbell, senior director for global initiatives at Internews

“…A preliminary assessment done by Internews in November found more than 300 types of social mobilization and messaging systems in the three worst-affected countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. This chaotic information landscape consisted mainly of information ‘out,’ with little opportunity for community dialogue. … A more robust approach is needed to ensure that citizens can access not only a wide range of information from trusted sources, but also channels for questioning and discussing that information. Here are five takeaways that the international development community should take to heart. 1. Form genuine partnerships with local media; 2. Build capacity rather than paying to disseminate prepared messages; 3. Deliver consistent messages and don’t oversimplify; 4. Encourage two-way communication with community audiences; 5. Help local media realize their full potential as a platform for accountability…” (4/23).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.