Ukraine and Moldova Government officials discuss prevention of Pandemic Avian Influenza at an International Symposium
KYIV, 13 February 2007 – An International Symposium on how governments can better manage emergency health situations has started in the capital of Ukraine. For three days Ukrainian and Moldovan high level government officials will discuss the organization and implementation of crisis communication campaigns in the context of a possible Avian Influenza pandemic.
The Symposium will provide senior government officials and spokespersons with the opportunity to better understand health crisis communication. This will include the adequate organization and coordination of relevant agencies and practical one-on-one simulation of media relations during health emergency situations.
With this participatory symposium, national emergency and health services will be able, through trust, transparency and authority, to significantly reduce public panic, inspire confidence and empower individuals to take appropriate action so that the impact of the pandemic will be minimized.
International health authorities and international organizations are clear with regard to Pandemic Influenza: it is not a question of whether it happens, but when it will happen.
The impact of responsible media relations in such an emergency cannot, therefore, be overestimated. Suitably planned public communication, including the ability to handle both national and international media professionally and transparently, is an essential part of the preparation for a pandemic situation.
As Pandemic Influenza does not respect borders, the issue of prompt, effective communication to populations is not just a matter of national, but of international, interest and concern. Having a well-organized and well-prepared emergency communication mechanism in place is therefore a key component of a government’s response.
The International Symposium on government crisis communication during health emergency situations is one of six symposia to be held in the region of Eastern and Central Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The Symposium is organized by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) in collaboration with WHO (World Health Organization) and with financial support of the Government of Japan and USAID (United States Agency for International Development).
For nearly 60 years UNICEF has been the world's leader for children, working on the ground in 157 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For more information:
Dmytro Konyk, Communication Officer, UNICEF
Anna Sukhodolska, Communication Assistant, UNICEF