ARCHIVED - Success Story #2

 

CAREID Builds Emergency Risk Communications Capacity in Cambodia and Laos

Within a year, the Canada-Asia Regional Emergency Infectious Diseases (CAREID) project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, successfully helped to build emergency risk communications capacity in two of its partner countries - Cambodia and Laos.

Les délégués cambodgiens et laotiens en matière de communication des risques posent en 
compagnie de leurs partenaires de l’initiative CAREID rattachés à l’Agence canadienne de développement international et à l’Agence de la santé publique du Canada

Cambodian and Laotian Risk Communications delegates pose with CAREID partners from the
Canadian International Development Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

One of the areas of focus for CAREID is risk communications, reflecting its identification as a core capacity under the International Health Regulations and as a central pillar of the Asia-Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases.

Canadian risk communications specialists for the CAREID project first met with Cambodian and Laotian CAREID partners in April of 2011, when they completed a needs assessment of the types of training each country needed. Based on these needs, the Canadian risk communications team developed Emergency Risk Communications training and delivered it to the Cambodian and Laotian delegates in Ottawa in October 2011. The scenario-based training focused on four key elements of risk communications: Transparency, Stakeholder Mapping, Message Framing and Listening and Stakeholder Perceptions.

John Rainford speaking to the workshop 
attendees in Laos.

John Rainford speaking to the workshop
attendees in Laos.

After completing the training, both the Cambodian and Laotian partners wanted to adapt it for use in their own countries. In December 2011, the Canadian risk communications team organized working sessions in Cambodia and Laos whereby the delegates wrote country-specific scenarios, and added their own South-East Asian case studies and examples to make the material relevant for their peers.

This training helped to give direction to the Cambodian Ministry of Health’s newly formed Risk Communications Unit, headed by Dr. Teng Srey. Dr. Srey now has plans to deliver the training in a number of Cambodian provinces over the next year. To date, in late January and early February 2012, the Cambodian and Laotian delegates hosted and facilitated four days of training to their peers in Kampong Cham Province and Vientiane Capital.

“The outcomes from this meeting include strong support for risk communications from the policy makers in the Laos Ministry of Health as well as an understanding of the concepts from our regional partners. Many of the participants who attended the training have expressed interest in delivering it to their own organizations,” said Khamphithoun Somsamouth, National Focal Point for Risk Communication on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Laos.

“It was great to see our Cambodian and Laotian partners take ownership of the material,” said John Rainford, Risk Communications focal point for the CAREID program. “I feel that we’ve helped these countries to develop something that can be continually adapted and updated to build a strong capacity for outbreak and crisis emergency risk communications moving forward.”

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