Conference: "Risk Communication and Community Engagement for Health Emergencies: Learning from lessons and paving the way ahead”


Risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) is one of the 8 core capacities for health emergency preparedness & response defined in the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) that all WHO Member States are required to develop and maintain. This area has never been so vital as a public health intervention and so high on Member States’ agendas than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both at sub-regional and country-levels, political and financial commitment are key to building sustainable RCCE structures, systems, and skills. This is true throughout the entire emergency cycle of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. 

After two years of COVID-19 pandemic and almost 1,5 years since COVID-19 vaccines introduction, countries see an increase of cases and face the need to reinforce the RCCE efforts and keep communities vigilant and safe.  

The experience of RCCE interventions throughout the region presents an outstanding source for learning, calibrating, and applying the best practices in the current and future health emergencies. 

To this end, on October 10-12, 2022 the World Health Organization Georgia’s office held a sub-regional meeting on RCCE to identify lessons learned so far from the COVID-19 response, and use these to develop subregional and country recommendations to further improve RCCE capacity.  

From UNA Georgia, programs manager Tamta Khutsishvili and Swedish interns Pauline af Ekenstam and Maja Soomägi attended the conference.  

Within the meeting was shared UNA Georgia’s lessons learned and best practices of working on community engagement and information campaign on vaccinations and immunization across the country during last two years.  

The overall aim of the conference was to strengthen countries’ capacity for Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) before, during and after public health emergencies, and to further improve their RCCE response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other health emergencies.   
As such, the conference provided a platform for sub-regional and regional exchange on the best practices and lessons learnt related to RCCE during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The outcome of the meeting will be summarized as a report containing the key findings and recommendations.