This article provides approaches to influenza pandemic communication that considers targeted population’s risk reduction strategies.
Effective communication must successfully instruct, inform, and motivate appropriate self-protective behavior, update risk information, build trust in officials, and dispel rumors. Pandemic communication should maximize the public’s capacity to encourage prevention, promote containment, and foster resilience and recovery. The quality of societal response depends partly on meeting the specific communication needs of all populations. Inappropriate communication can greatly compromise risk reduction. With rapidly changing and potentially ambiguous information, trust in officials is crucial. To improve trust, messages need to be culturally appropriate and consider health literacy levels, language, cultural references, and readability issues. Overall, communication strategies and messages are most effective when they come from the target population’s perspective, are sensitive and relevant to audience needs, and are integrated based on factual information.