Communication Strategies for the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Pandemic

Publication Summary

Various communication strategies and tools were implemented to address challenges that resulted from the pH1N1 pandemic. The objective of this literature review was to provide an overview of the approaches used to communicate pH1N1 information and summarize the results of initial evaluations. Focus was given to three target groups: 1) the general public; 2) health-care providers and 3) public health workers. Communication strategies and tools used in Canada were compared with the approaches used in other countries.

Key Points:

  • Limited behaviour change to prevent influenza infection was reported among the general public from surveys conducted in Australia, United Kingdom and France.
  • Rapid communication with frontline health-care providers during the pH1N1 pandemic was challenging and effective mechanisms for communication with health-care providers need to be determined.
  • Social networking tools were widely used as communication tools. Effectiveness and best-practices related to the use of social media requires further evaluation.
  • Comparisons of provincial/territorial and local public health strategies are needed to inform future public health communication practices.