Workshops, Networks and Projects

Workshop on Vaccination: Frames, Facts, Fictions and Feelings, Centre for Independent Journalism, 9-10 February 2018, Bucharest (Romania) 

WHCA worked with the Romanian Centre for Independent Journalism this last week in developing and facilitating a workshop on Vaccination.The workshop brought together 20 journalists from around the country working in local media outlets, bloggers and investigative journalists. 

The aim of the meeting was to increase knowledge of journalist and enhance capacities to cover vaccination stories and to help build relationships with public health and vaccination experts. To that end, the workshop format was structured as a series of  World Café conversations between small groups of journalists and pairs of vaccination experts from institutes, academia and general practice.Vaccination rates in Romania have been driopping over last few years and there is a growing anti-vaccination movement fueled by celebrities, rapidly changing governments, mistrust in health system and supply problems. These factors have all contributed to lower vaccination uptake resulting in major measles outbreak with over 30 deaths to date, mainly in unvaccinated children under 12 months.

Presentation 1-2  Presentation 3  Presentation 4 


Adapting vaccine messages: 5 translation tips


Translation alone is not enough

This guide introduces an innovative five-step, stakeholder-based approach to adapting health communication materials. It describes how countries can take any health communication material (produced in English or other languages) and create adapted products which reflect national or local realities, needs and assets without losing the scientific correctness, core concepts and messages of the original version. Lessons learned from applying this approach in WHCA ECDC-supported projects to pilot and adapt the "Lets talk about Protection - Enhancing childhood vaccination uptake” A Communication guide for healthcare providers" in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary and Romania. [download PDF of the GUIDE]


Lets talk about hesitancy - Enhancing confidence in vaccination and uptake. Practical guide for public health programme managers and communicators

This guide provides practical evidence-based and peer-reviewed advice for public health programme managers (PHPMs) and communicators involved with immunisation services. It identifies ways to enhance people’s confidence in vaccination and addresses common issues which underlie vaccination hesitancy. PHPMs are the target audience for this guide, as they are uniquely positioned to initiate, coordinate and monitor the comprehensive system-wide action needed to address the many psychosocial determinants of hesitancy and provide support to healthcare providers in their efforts to enhance vaccination confidence and uptake. This guide serves as a supplement to the ECDC guide Let’s talk about protection], which focuses on strengthening the capacities of healthcare providers to better address concerns about vaccination and tackle obstacles to vaccination uptake. [download PDF of the GUIDE]

Lets talk about Protection- Enhancing childhood vaccination uptake- updated

This Guide provides practical peer-reviewed advice and evidence-based guidance for healthcare providers who are involved with immunisation services i on ways to increase the uptake of childhood vaccinations. This advice and guidance is delivered by giving voice to the thoughts, knowledge and insights of parents, social marketers ii, health promoters and other health service and public health experts. The advice aims to help healthcare providers gain insights into the behaviour and choices of different stakeholders and identify ways to better address concerns about vaccination and other obstacles to vaccination uptake. [download PDF of the GUIDE]



Should the Olympic Games in Brazil be postponed? Watch interview



South East European Center of Infectious Diseases Surveillance and Control Stakeholder Meeting  2-3 March 2016, Rogner Hotel, Tirana, Albania

National and regional disease surveillance and response experts gathered in Tirana 2-3 March for a SECID/CORDS stakeholder meeting. The meeting aimed to agree priority action plans for SECID network. Zika preparedness and response was a key issue on agenda. Some international agencies such as WHO, ECDC, USAID, and government representatives were also attending.

WHCA was giving facilitation and communication support services and gathering interviews from some of the stakeholders. 

To know more visit SECID  and CORDS website.


A-debate: U-Turn on Addictions. Biological and social science to reframe addictions policy - Barcelona, February 17-18, 2016 

ALICE RAP hosted a final debate to present and discuss key research findings coming out of the project, their policy implications and the science with the greatest potential to contribute to smart and evidence-based global drugs policy.
The event was attended by high-level scientists, policy actors from national and international organisations and expert civil society actors. [read more]

Read the final version of the  A-Debate Science Summary document. 


4th Annual Pharma Anti-Counterfeiting 2015 “Competences to Combat Counterfeits” 8-9 September 2015, The Kensington Close Hotel, Wrights Lane, London, UK

 Franklin Apfel gave a presentation on DAY 2 at 15:50 – Raising “counterfeit” health literacy -people, professionals and policy makers.


Where’s the pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies market heading? Counterfeit medicines issue is creating a growing threat to patients in every part of the world, with increasing numbers in Europe and the USA. Customs department in every part of the world are finding more and more illegally produced drugs in day-to-day life. [read more]



EBOLA – Intensified Preparedness Programme (IPP) First pilot training: CORDS - Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance - 25-26 November 2014 Hotel Imperial, Kampala Uganda


Franklin Apfel together with Dr. Petra Dickmann and  Prof. Nigel Lightfoot is one of the facilitators during a 2-day pilot training on EBOLA – Intensified Preparedness Programme (IPP) organized by CORDS. The workshop convenes key stakeholders from several African Countries  and aims to build capacity in communication and community work to better manage the Ebola outbreak.


ALICE RAP Steering Group Meeting, 3-4 February 2015, Barcelona 

The aim of the ALICE RAP Barcelona steering meeting is to review project achievements and publications to date and agree reporting plans and the agenda and programme for early 2016. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group.


CORDS- Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance - One Health workshop 
10 - 12 November 2014 - Bangkok, Thailand

Franklin Apfel has been one of the facilitators during a 3-day pilot One Health workshop on Influenza H7N9 and Ebola organized by CORDS. The workshop convened key stakeholders from 7 South-Eastern Asian countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries are part of 2 networks, MBDS (Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance) and APEIR (Asia Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research).

More videos from ONE Health workshop can be watched on CORDS Youtube Channnel


Cultural Adaptation and translation of Health- related materials

Assistance for country-tailored health communication activities to support measles and rubella elimination
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) August 2014-March 2015

WHCA, under the terms of a Framework Contract, has been working and supporting ECDC initiatives and pilot projects over the past few years. One major area of activity has been the development and adaptation of evidence-based communication tools to r support health care providers during their daily interactions with patients and/or beneficiaries around topics related to vaccination in general, and especially MMR uptake.  Activities have included coordinating the development of the ECDC guide Let’s talk about protection; the cultural adaptation of the guide and supporting materials (called guide set) in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania; the pilot testing of the guide set in three Roma communities in Bulgaria. As part of this process WHCA has helped ECDC develop guidance for cross-border adaptation of health related materials.

Over the next 8 months WHCA will support more country-led teams in adapting Let’s talk about protection plus work with Heidi Larson and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene to develop a supplement on “vaccine hesitancy” for use by relevant health care providers and public health professionals to enhance communications between providers and parents and grandparents  around vaccine preventable diseases and vaccines.

[read more about WHCA activities within the Framework contracts with ECDC]




Global Health and Journalism Mentoring Initiative
The World Health Professions Alliance meets the journalists, Geneva,  19 May 2014

More videos on this meeting


4th ALICE RAP GENERAL PARTNERS' MEETING, 12-14 May 2014, Amsterdam

The WHCA Global Health and Journalism Initiative selected two students - Martin Luca de la Cruz (Faculty of Law, Padua University) and Charlotte Sexauer (MA Journalism - University of West England)  to participate in the Alice RAP meetings in Amsterdam to hear, debate and reflect on ways some scientists are trying to influence drug and addiction- related policy making in Europe and beyond through research and advocacy.

[Read more about ALICE RAP project]

Read Charlotte Sexauer's article

Read Martin Luca de la Cruz's article


Health in Europe: are we there yet? Learning from the past, building the future
13-16 November 2013, The Square, Rue Ravenstein 2, Brussels, Belgium

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA facilitated a panel on Risk Communication  for the prevention of communicable diseases: Introducing a new risk communication paradigm. Friday , 15 November from 13:30 to 15:00 Room M4.


5th Annual WHO Healthy Cities Conference, Izmir, Turkey, 20-22 September 2013

WHCA will coordinate the press conference and moderation services during the 5th “Annual Business and Technical Conference” of WHO European Healthy Cities Network and European National Healthy Cities Network.

[read more]


Population-Level Behavior Change (PLBC) Evidence Summit for Child Survival
FHI 360, 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
June 3-4, 2013

Franklin Apfel, Managing Director of World Health Communication Associates, joined forces with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to launch the Behavior Change Evidence Summit for Child Survival on June 3–4 to ensure we are all doing what works best to end preventable child deaths and ensure healthy growth and development. The Summit brings together global leaders to determine what is needed to change health-related behaviors in lower and middle income countries (LMICs) and reduce under-five mortality.


Follow the summit on Twitter:

Hashtags: #GHmatters #Promise4Children


The World Health Editors Network (WHEN)meeting

Geneva, 18-23 May 2013

Four "cub reporters" have entered the stadium of the 66 World Health Assembly. They have faced and overcome some obstacles to access health information since the very first day. They are trying hard to make health information understandable to the general public in the attempt to democratise knowledge so everybody can leave the stadium and bring home some useful health information to start being a policy maker in their own homes. [read more]


ALICE RAP Steering Group Meeting, 5-7 February 2013, Barcelona

The aim of the ALICE RAP Barcelona steering meeting is to review project achievements and publications to date and agree reporting plans and the agenda and programme for the project meeting 23-25 April 2013. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group.


Risk communication pilot training, 16-17 January 2013, ECDC, Stockholm

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA has been coordinating the development of a risk communication training course. To this end WHCA recruited three international experts working at the forefront of research on and practice of risk communication and managed a curriculum development process. The course modules, developed through one face-to-face and five virtual meetings of the experts, were used to support the delivery of this 2-day “pilot” training course for ECDC staff.  Feedback and evaluation from this pilot testing is being used to finalise a course syllabus and inform ECDC planning for further development of the training programme.


2012 Child Safety Report Cards

On June 12, 2012 the European Child Safety Alliance of EuroSafe  launched the Child Safety Report Cards for more than 30 European countries at the European Parliament in Strasbourg with the support of MEP Malcolm Harbour Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli.[read more]

The “Unofficial” World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) Action Guide to the: WHO – 65th World Health Assembly
21–26 May 2012, Geneva 

Download a copy here









Workshop on Wellbeing and Happiness

Columbia University, New York City
Sunday, April 1st, 2012

WHCA participated in the Workshop on Wellbeing and Happiness which aims to reframe the way the world looks at and works for development.

[read more]


Annual meeting STI and HIV in EU/EEA
15-17 February 2012
Elite Hotel Marina Tower & ECDC

WHCA supplies facilitation and rapporteur services in this annual meeting that is meant to provide a platform for expert discussion amongst the nominated contact points for STI and HIV with respect to the recent STI and HIV surveillance reports to better understand the spread of disease and differences across EU/EEA Member States, and with respect to several ongoing projects in these disease areas initiated by ECDC.
[Read programme] ECDC website


The European Health Literacy Conference
Museum of Natural Science, Brussels November 22 -23, 2011

WHCA introduced system scorecard approach concepts to the meeting and will help with report finding dissemination. 150 people from more than 20 countries took part in the conference and discussed the developments and policy impacts of the health literacy survey results, which were launched. European Commissioner for health John Dalli opened the conference which was endorsed by several members of the European Parliament: Christofer Fjellner, Karin Kadenbach, Pat the Cope Gallagher and Antoniya Parvanova. [read more...]

The Movie of the HLS-EU project


9th International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development
Education Matters: Empowering Young People for a Healthy Future
Berlin, KfW, October 19 – 20, 2011

WHCA staff engaged small group activities in the Market place and  World Café sessions aimed at capturing their collective wisdom and experience in advocating, implementing, sustaining and strengthening human rights approaches to sexual and reproductive health.
[read more...]


Countering the hazard merchants blog series
Series one - New tobacco industry frames to undermine public health

A four part interview and commentary series 

Interviewer: Franklin Apfel, World Health Communication Associates (WHCA)

Interviewee: Derek Yach, Founder and Director Phillip Morris International (PMI) Foundation for a Smoke- Free World

Commentary: Professor Martin McKee, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

In this blog series Apfel analyses and McKee comments on Yach’s interview responses on the tobacco industry and his involvement in the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The series is intended to identify new ways in which the industry is attempting to (re)frame conversations on tobacco and health and tobacco industry behaviours as demonstrated by their adherence to or circumvention of article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control states: "In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law." 

New Tobacco Industry communication strategies to undermine public health: Part I - 50 shades of gray frame

New Tobacco Industry communication strategies to undermine public health: Part II - “There’s been no progress in 10 years”

New Tobacco Industry communication strategies to undermine public health: Part III - Redefining the "end game" goal1

New Tobacco Industry communication strategies to undermine public health: IV - Tobacco industry research sets the gold standard

A Stronger Possibility for Reinvesting Tobacco Money in Public Health for a Smoke-Free World


International Cycling Conference, (Mannheim Baroque Palace) Mannheim, Germany from 19 to 21 September, 2017







The ICC is a 3-day meeting to highlight the role of active mobility from an international perspective. It is an engaging, innovative and interactive event gathering international researchers and practitioners  to discuss the role of active mobility in the modern world, intersecting academic, political and practical thinking strategies.  Dr Franklin Apfel from World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) moderated THE PEP Relay Race, at the International Cycling Conference in Mannheim, on 21.09.2017. 

For more information click here 

Watch interviews from the conference!

BRAZIL: The transformation of São Paulo

CHILE: Active mobility & Community building            

INDIA: India Cycling Agenda

UGANDA: Changing the mindset


The NEW WHCA “Unofficial” Action Guide to World Health Assembly 70

This “unofficial” WHCA Action Guide is a compilation of information from the WHO website for the 70th World Health Assembly. It is presented for use by World Health Communication Associates (WHCA), World Health Editors Network (WHEN) members and others attending the WHA70 and is not intended for sale. It includes useful information regarding the Assembly, including texts of key discussion papers and resolutions. It aims to serve as a “one-stop” background document to the agenda items for Committee A during WHA70 in Geneva, 22–31 May 2017.

[download the WHA Guide]


World Health Minute: news you will use

World Health Minute (WHM) is a new public health news aggregation platform that provides quick access to global public health reporting. 

The aim of the WHM is to bring early intelligence to communities of practise focused on different agenda items of the WHA70 and issues related to action areas of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The WHM aggregator aims to be a key information source for public health leaders, managers, practitioners, advocates and investors interested in policy issues, developments in products and patents, political shifts and movements in the world of public health.  The website will be launched in the run up  to the WHA.

The WHM is an initiative of CSD Consulting (Switzerland), World Health Communication Associates (UK) and Hyderus (UK).

[download the WHM]


McDonalds Fishponds Appeal Hearing ends. Verdict likely after the election! 

 McDonalds exhibited typical hazard merchant behaviours throughout the hearing.

First they rubbish evidence.  McDonald paid for so-called obesity expert discounted evidence which has guided councils (minimum 400 and 800 meters distances from places where young people gather) in protecting school children from in-their-face fast food lures.

Second they blame individual choices for all problems

 The McDonald’s paid for expert- misrepresented major studies:

 Foresight obesity study and McKinsey obesity study which both call for comprehensive environmental actions to curb obesity and other non communicable diseases. He repeatedly boasted about McDonald’s many healthy choices without giving any evidence on what people in McDonald’s actually eat. 

Third they pump tons of money into promoting themselves, their products and behaviours which will favour their bottom line. McDonald spend 2.4billion plus on advertising their hamburgers and Happy Meals. This is more than the entire regular annual budget of the WHO!

Read summary reports: report 1, report 2, report 3 

Follow debate on Twitter #noMacinF


HIV/STI prevention among Youth in Europe using social media expert ECDC, Tomtebodavägen 11A, Stockholm, 06-07 March 2017

WHCA presented the results of a study conducted in collaboration with a team of researchers from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical. The meeting provideed a succesful platform for expert discussion on how to improve the draft of the "Handbook for preventing HIV/STI among youth using social media". [download Agenda]


THE PEP 2016 -  SymposiumContributing to economic development and stimulating job creation through investment in environment- and health-friendly transport, 7 November 2016, WHO Headquarters, Geneva

Dr Franklin Apfel will moderate a round table discussion following a keynote speech by Griffin Carpenter, New Economic Foundation. The audience of the Symposium will be made by THE PEP focal points from countries in the UNECE-WHO/Europe region, representing the transport, health and environment ministries. Participants from almost 30 different Member States and organizations are expected.

The Symposium will focus on two topics:

  • Greening the economy
  • Green and health-friendly investment and Green jobs in transport

Issues that could be addressed may include the following:

 (a) What are the trends in the UNECE-WHO European Region in investments and financing that contribute to the achievement of sustainable transport, the reduction of emission of air pollutants, GHGs and noise for the transport sector?

(b) How effective are current financing and investment policies in addressing the impact of air pollution from transport? What can be done to make such policies more effective? What are the financial incentives and how effective are they?

(c) Is the job-creating potential of green and healthy transport generally known and fully understood? How can communication be improved? Which

(d) What are the action priorities for THE PEP?


Environmental Health Communication Seminar | 19 & 20 October Lisbon

Franklin Apfel joined with Roberto Bertollini in delivering a 2-day module on Environmental Health Communication to PHD students of University of Lisbon’s EnviHealth and Co. Programme 



The programme included lectures, group work and role play focussed on

Sessions 1 and 2 - Risk and crisis communication
Case study- Simulated nuclear accident 

“A nuclear accident has been reported at Almaraz nuclear power plant located close to the border between Spain and Portugal. Apparently there was a breakdown of the cooling system, which allowed the fuel to overheat and experience a “meltdown”, burn through the containment vessel and spew radiation far and wide. The extent of damage is still being investigated.”
Students prepared ministerial briefing and public announcements  

Session 3- Working with (Traditional and Social) Media
Group work- developing media plans

Session 4 - Advocacy –Case studies

a) Community action against McDonald’s application for drive through restaurant in Fishponds Bristol UK

b) Greening hospital premises in Lisbon


Strategies to increase vaccine acceptance and uptake 
Les Pensières Fondation Mérieux Conference Center- France 26-28 September 2016 

WHCA team will give two speeches: Franklin Apfel will talk about how to use core social marketing concepts and approaches in addressing vaccine hesitancy challenges; Sabrina Cecconi will talk about the importance of translation and cultural adaptation of health communication materials in addressing vaccination uptake challenges and other public health issues. 

[read the programme]

Watch the videos:

How social marketing can boost health

Adapting vaccine messages: 5 translation tips

Adapting vaccine messages: ‘translation is not enough’


WHCA joins forces with The News Minute in Geneva to tell stories around major public health global threats.
HA 69, Geneva 23-28 May 2016. 

Our team will be out and about the Palais searching for stories to tell using different approaches, like interviewing people, listening to sessions, asking questions to participants, gathering active health stakeholders around the table to reflect together about the hottest topics listed in theWHA Agenda, including childhood obesity, undernutrition, communicable diseases,etc as well as the role of the NON state actors in the future of WHO.

Chef Jamie Oliver is interviewed by TNM&WHCA team at the WHA69 in Geneva

Read more articles on the TNM:

Is Jamie Oliver's food revolution a marketing tool or a public health campaign?

Here's why we think Jamie Oliver is cool as a cucumber


Chef Jamie Oliver's speech at the WHA69 side ministerial event on childhood obesity and malnutrition.


CORDS Network Chairs' meeting Istanbul - Turkey,  4-5 March 2016 

Network chairs from SACIDS, EAIDSnet , MECID, SECID and APIER gathered in Istanbul 4-5 March 2016 for strategic planned and agreement on new cooperative cross-network ZIKA surveillance initiative.

Chairs got an update on CORDSNETWORK plans to support a new West African Disease surveillance network.
WHCA was giving communication support services and gathering Voices from the grounds from the Networks Chairs.


United against Infectious diseases for African-led capacity building 14-15 December 2015, Arusha (Tanzania)

Franklin Apfel wll joined Emma Orefuwa, Petra Dickmann and Nigel Lightfoot, from CORDSNETWORK, in facilitating a 2-day meeting, organised in collaboration with surveillance network partners EAIDSNet and SACIDS, which brought together front line stakeholders with policy makers and funders to look at ways to make epidemic response earlier, faster, smoother and smarter. New mobile phone disease surveillance apps, genomic testing devices and African led innovative approaches to community engagement were highlighted.

Press conference Arusha 13 December 2015

Arusha  Day ONE 14 December 2015

The two-day Stakeholder Event provided a platform for networks to learn from each other and a springboard for future collaborative activities in the region for enhancing African and African-led capacity building, for example a new West African Disease Surveillance Network.


THE PEP Symposium on reducing air pollution and noise emissions from transport, “Salle VIII”, Palais des Nations, Geneva 17 November 2015

The Symposium will be organized before the Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, being held in Batumi (Georgia) on 8–10 June 2016. One of the two themes of that Conference is “Improving air quality for a better environment and human health”. The Symposium will be used to discuss in depth how the reduction of emissions of transport-related greenhouse gases and air pollutants can lead to a better environment and human health, reflecting the priority goal 3. The outcomes of the Symposium can then be reported to THE PEP Steering Committee, possibly to COP-21 and later to the Batumi Conference, among other forums. 

Dr Franklin Apfel will moderate a round table discussion following a keynote speech by Prof Nino KÜNZLI (Deputy Director, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel) on the health burden of air pollution in Europe. The audience of the Symposium will be made by THE PEP focal points from countries in the UNECE-WHO/Europe region, representing the transport, health and environment ministries. Participants from almost 30 different Member States and organizations are expected.

List of participants

[read more]


ALICE RAP Final Plenary Meeting & Pre-Conference Satellite Symposium, Lisbon, September 22, 2015 

 The ALICE RAP Final Plenary Meeting and Pre-Conference Satellite Symposium will draw together around 60 participants from a wide variety of research, clinical and policy backgrounds, and different scientific disciplines and geographical regions, to present and discuss the key preliminary findings of the 5-year ALICE RAP project (Addictions and Lifestyles in Contemporary Europe – Reframing Addictions Policy [read more]. 


 The MDG to SDG Journey! 

The Communication Initiative Network is a platform convening the communication and media for development community. Here is a thread of news and social media updates that include a variety of perspectives on the journey from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals. All intro and commentary text is my take only. Please submit through "Join the conversation", at bottom of this thread, any items that you wish to feature.


Annual Business and Technical Conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks, Kuopio, Finland - 24-26 June 2015

WHCA is supporting the WHO Regional Office for Europe during this annual Healthy City Network business meeting and conference in Kuopio. The movement represents one of the most enduring and thriving international public health initiatives. 

This is the first Annual Business and Technical Conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and the Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks in Phase VI. The WHO European Network consists of 98 cities. In addition, 30 national healthy cities networks in Europe have more than 1400 cities and towns as members. [read more]


Defeating Ebola and building up resilient health systems for a better future” - From Emergency to Development: Consolidating Efforts for a Sustainable Ebola Response towards Building Resilient Health Systems - Brussels, 4 June 2015


Background information

 This high level debate will be an opportunity to discuss the state of play of the Ebola outbreak and the global response, its medium and long-term societal implications for the most affected countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - and the role of the international community to ensure a sustainable recovery. It would also allow to discuss the conditions, resources and political commitments needed for global public health emergency response 

watch the video

 As a result of the debate, three main outcomes in terms of identification of actions, policy development, political commitment, and resources allocation resulting from the following question are expected: capacity and preparedness for future global epidemics.

Watch the video 
(# 5 on the page)

Outcome 1:

a) Which measures and policies need to be put in place or strengthened to build partnership for comprehensive emergency response in epidemics?

b) How to ensure global health preparedness at country level in implementing the International Health Regulations (2005)?

Outcome 2:

a) How to strengthen health systems fully involving communities’ participation around the principles of PHC and UHC?

b) How to re-establish the services, systems and infrastructure which have been devastated in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Outcome 3:

Which policies and commitments need to be in place to support research and development to respond to epidemics such as Ebola?




List of speakers:

 - Dr. Roberto Bertollini, WHO Representative to the EU, World Health Organization Office at the European Union

- Moderator: Dr. Franklin Apfel, Managing Director and Founding Partner, World Health Communications Associates.

 - Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO).

 - Mr Claus Sørensen, Director General, Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), European Commission.

- Dr. Joseph Caboré, Director for Programme Management, World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for Africa.

MEP Linda McAvan, Chair, European Parliament's International Development Committee.

- Dr. Victor Matt-Lebby, Director of Hospitals and Laboratories, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone.

- Ms Meinie Nicolai, President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Belgium and of MSF’s operational center in Brussels.

- Ms Rebecca Johnson, Nurse, Public Health Care Services, Sierra Leone; Ebola survivor and founder of Pink Cross, Sierra Leone.

- Ms Shakira Choonara, Future Leader, PhD Research Fellow, Centre for Health Policy (CHP), South Africa.

[read more]


WHEN 2015: Enhancing global health literacy
Towards the development of Regional Health Communication Networks
World Health Assembly 68 - Geneva, 17- 21 May 2015

Miatta Zenabu Gbanya, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Republic of Liberia is interviewed by journalists participating in the WHEN 2015.


The World Health Editors Network (WHEN) is an international and inter-disciplinary exchange and action platform for journalism and public health. WHEN is dedicated to strengthening journalism and public health communication capacity as public goods and key determinants of health.  WHEN development has been facilitated by the World Health Professional Alliance The World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) serves as secretariat to the WHEN.

Since 2007, the WHEN has convened journalists and other communicators at the World Health Assembly (WHA); helped them “enter the stadium” of this most important global health gathering; facilitated knowledge exchange and network building; and provided tools and training ( Over the past 2 years, in collaboration with CSDconsulting (Switzerland), The Newsminute(India) and Media Wise Trust (UK), WHEN has selected, sponsored, trained and mentored international journalism students attending the WHA (see

AIM of 2015 WHEN training

The aim of this year’s  training will be to raise journalist global health literacy; strengthen scientist - journalist communications; and explore the development of an African Regional Health Communication network that can enhance epidemic coverage and serve as watchdogs to monitor global health commitments.


The project will select and convene senior journalists at the WHA-68 for a training and mentoring experience that will introduce participants to this most important and underreported (!), global health arena, facilitate information gathering and catalyse relationship building with global health experts.  


WHCA partner agencies will solicit applications and recommend national and local journalists and other communicators for participation.



Journalist applicants should have:

  • 5 years experience in journalism and communication on national and/or local level;
  • Expressed interest in global health reporting- does not need be designated health reporter could be economics, trade, education, development etc. with interest in enhancing health angle of reports.
    • Extensive network of communicator contacts;
    • Excellent English language skills;
    • Agreement to work towards WHEN ethical guidelines 


All applicants are asked to provide:

  • a Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • a letter of interest,
  • writing sample and
  • a support letter from an editor or agency of intention to publish material produced as a result of participation.
A selection committee, including representatives of key partner agencies will review applications and select participants.

All training and mentoring activities are free of charge.
All participants completing the training will receive a certificate of attendance.Funds are available to cover the costs of a few selected participant journalists, especially from African countries.

For more information contact: Sabrina Cecconi, Programme Manager WHCA at


Marking 25 years of the Healthy Cities movement
2014 International Healthy Cities Conference
Athens, Greece - 22–25 October 2014

WHCA is supporting the WHO Regional Office for Europe during this annual Healthy City Network business meeting and conference in Athens that marks 25 years of the European and global Healthy Cities movement. The movement represents one of the most enduring and thriving international public health initiatives.

This Conference offers the opportunity to celebrate and take stock of the collective achievements of Healthy Cities, which are based on the leadership and creativity of hundreds of cities across Europe and around the world. It provides ample opportunities for people to share stories and use narrative exchanges as a basis for reflecting, sharing and learning from a wealth of experiences and innovative solutions. Ultimately, the Conference offers a platform for political leaders, health professionals and activists to shape their visions for the future and to renew and reinvigorate their commitment to health, sustainable development and the Healthy Cities movement.

[follow the conference]


Workshop: Key Principles of Sustainable, Safe and Secure Laboratory Capacity Building
Chatham House - The Royal Institute of International Affairs 10 St James's Square, London 9-10 October 2014

Franklin Apfel was one of the facilitators during a two-day workshop on Key Principles of Sustainable, Safe and Secure Laboratory Capacity Building within phase II of the Chatham House project Safe and Secure Biomaterials. The workshop convened key stakeholders from engineering, science, policy and NGOs from low-, middle- and high-income countries together with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

[Chatham House website]


Pharma Anti-Counterfeiting 2014
Marriott Hotel Maida Vale, London, UK
23 -24 September 2014

Franklin Apfel will join a counterfeiting meeting and share a platform with Cyntia Genolet from Fight the Fakes. They will participate in the Morning Keynote Panel Discussion: Challenges and Opportunities and talk about campaigns and communications. The panel will discuss:

- How people and systems can protect themselves from counterfeits;

- How should organizations work together to combat the problem of counterfeiting;

- Combating the illegal sale or supply of medicines over the internet sales;

- Predicting and dealing with common pitfalls and challenges;

- Case study: learning from recent real-world examples.

Programme of the Conference


“We Love Eating” - PAU education project
Scientific board and city coordinator meeting
Barcelona, 16 June  2014

WHCA is working with PAU on its We Love Eating campaign. PAU is a company specializing in education and communication initiatives in the EU and beyond. Their projects are based on developing and sharing innovative knowledge, fostering creativity, building participatory frameworks, contributing to the quality of learning, enhancing understanding and multicultural skills, and partnering with research institutions. WHCA is focusing on working with “disadvantaged” populations.

Download the presentation


Second edition of the Media's pH Value's Global Health and Journalism Mentoring Initiative

WHEN meetings at WHA67, Geneva,  18-23 May 2014

A new mentoring approach

Media's pH Value's Global Health and Journalism Mentoring Initiative is a independent initiative which which aims to raise the health literacyof journalists and an awareness of their roles and responsibilities to raise health literacy of others.  The initiative explores the role of communications as a determinant of public health along-with epidemiology, law and economics.  The initiative provides on-going networking support. In this way the initiative aims to catalyse interest in global health reporting and strengthen global health communication. The initiative has already benefited from the active involvement of governments, civil society, the private sector and academia.
[more information] [WHA67 videos]

The unofficial Guide to the 67th WHA

[Dr Chan's Opening address]

[Read the young journalists' articles]


12-14 May 2014, Amsterdam

The 4th ALICE RAP General Partners' meeting was held in Amsterdam at the NH Barbizon Palace. Prins Hendrikkade, 59-72. WHCA supported the project communication work and chaired the media and communication advisory group.

Monday 12 May at 19.30 – 22:00 Open Political Debate on Cannabis Policy and Regulation, De Balie debate centre, Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, Amsterdam

Franz Trautmann led the organisation of a public debate between researchers, public health policy makers and politicians on cannabis policy. The discussion was led by high-level academics and political figures in the field, and took the 5th AR policy brief as its framework and starting point. Watch the debate in our Video series


Developing country capacity for the implementation of Health 2020: Briefing of consultants

8-9 January 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark WHO/UN City Auditorium I

Under contract to WHO, WHCA moderated and facilitated discussion among the participants through the use of examples based on different country scenarios with the aim of developing a common understanding of Health 2020 and the role of policy consultants in supporting countries develop and implement their policies.




Media’s pH Value, 9 September 2013, New Delhi, India

On September 9, 2013 a briefing (watch this space for location and time) will be held on tobacco industry activities worldwide and in India. The briefing will be followed by a tutorial on the role of media, advocacy and communications in public health with a special focus on tobacco control.


This initiative will be partnered by Newslaundry and Who’s There? Yes (WTY), a global journalism and health mentoring initiative launched by Chitra Subramaniam Duella (Switzerland) and Dr Franklin Apfel (United Kingdom). They are united by a mutual interest in understanding journalism and public health as public goods.

Read the press release

Media's pH value organisers Chitra Subramaniam, Abhinandan Sekhri and Franklin Apfel (taking picture) meet with Jeffrey Wigand ("the Insider") and Economic Times reporter Ullekh NP discuss meeting plans for Tobacco Control Workshop in New Delhi 9 September.



Let's talk about protection: an ECDC Action Guide to enhance childhood vaccination uptake.

WHCA has helped ECDC to  coordinate a group of experts to develop content for an Action Guide on childhood immunization and different vaccines, with a special focus on MMR vaccine, targeting health professionals, parents/grandparents, underserved/poorly served population and media. [download the Action Guide from ECDC website]

WHCA has also helped ECDC in the Adapatation and Translation of the Action Guide in 4 different countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

Download Romanian version here


New! Health Literacy - The solid facts  New!

This publication makes the case for policy action to strengthen health literacy. Evidence, including the results of the European Health Literacy. Survey, is presented that supports a wider and relational whole-of-society approach to health literacy that considers both an individual’s level of health literacy and the complexities of the contexts within which people act. The data from the European Health Literacy Survey show that nearly half the Europeans surveyed have inadequate or problematic health literacy. Weak health literacy skills are associated with riskier behaviour, poorer health, less self-management and more hospitalization and costs. Strengthening health literacy has been shown to build individual and community resilience, help address health inequities and improve health and well-being. Practical and effective ways public health and other sectoral authorities and advocates can take action to strengthen health literacy in a variety of settings are identified. Specific evidence is presented for educational settings, workplaces, marketplaces, health systems, new and traditional media and political arenas.

Download the book


EU Summit on Active and Healthy Ageing: An Action Agenda for European Cities and Communities
In association with the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU
Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, Ireland - June 13-14, 2013

The European Year for Active and Healthy Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in 2012 forms the primary foundation for the EU Summit and a platform for answering serious questions including: What are the challenges that threaten to slow the momentum and the opportunities for action?  How will European leaders create political will and support during a time of great austerity to use age-friendly cities as a key vehicle for active and healthy ageing?  How can adding two additional healthy life years become a reality?  Further, how can we drive five additional active years to life?

Conference website
Follow the summit on Twitter@AHA_2013

13 June - Opening Session of European Age-friendly Cities and Communities European Village
Franklin Apfel will present  a demo from the Digital Health Scorecard as a tool to monitor and enhance quality of life


XXVII National Congress on Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Hygiene, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain, 5-7 June 2013

Franklin Apfel is invited to present a special session on the topic of the importance of communication in preventive medicine.
Congress website
See Programme
Download presentation


WHCA joins forces with CSDconsulting in Geneva to launch a new Journalism and Health Mentoring Initiative

WHEN meeting, Geneva, 18-23 May 2013

Who's there? Yes. Here is the "Bringing it home" team (Left to right): Rebecca Megson, Xun Lu, Lindsay Gill, Chitra Subramaniam, 
Franklin Apfel, Anand Ranganathan, Ullekh NP, Kartika Candra Dwi Susanti.

The Challenge
Finding effective ways to:

  • Enter the stadium – overcoming obstacles to health accessing information
  • Democratise knowledge – making health information understandable
  • Bring it home – enhancing the utility of health information for all.

Why Journalism and Health

Journalism and public health are public goods. Journalists are key contributors to people’s health literacy (the ability to access, assess and use information for health). Poor health literacy is associated with poor health choices, increased illnesses, higher health costs and death. Health literacy is one of the strongest predictors of health along with age, gender, ethnicity, income and empowerment. Paradoxically, journalism training does not often focus on public health and the study of public health gives low priority to the role of journalists as public health educators and informers.

Who’s there? Yes (WTY) is a new independent initiative which aims to address this paradox by raising the health literacy of journalists and an awareness of their roles and responsibilities to raise health literacy of others.  A proof of concept workshop is bringing 15 international journalists, scientists and advocates from around the world to the 66th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) for a hands-on understanding of global health policies. Through a series of meetings with key policy makers, advocates and analysts, participants will reflect and identify effective ways to gain information from and about the work and plans of WHA participants (National Public Health Authorities including Ministers of Health from 198 countries of the WHO).  While the WHA, the World Health Organisation’s apex body, is the largest gathering of public health decision makers from around the world, its public recognition remains low.

The initiative will explore the role of communications as a determinant of public health along-with epidemiology, law and economics. The curriculum will have inputs from governments, civil society, the private sector and academia. [read more]

Provisional Program
The Unofficial Guide to WHO 66th WHA


3rd ALICE RAP GENERAL PARTNERS' MEETING, 23 -25 April 2013, Barcelona

The third ALICE RAP General partners' meeting focused on Governance of Addictions and lifestyles in contemporary Europe. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group. [video]


Evidence Summit on Enhancing Child Survival and Development in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries by Achieving Population-Level Behavior Change.

13-14 February 2013, UNICEF, New York City

The U.S. Agency for International Development has invited WHCA Managing Director Franklin Apfel to be a member of an evidence review team for this Summit.

This Evidence Summit is a key outcome of the Child Survival Call to Action – A Promise Renewed, which was held in June 2012 in Washington, DC and outlined a roadmap for ending preventable child deaths.

Expected outcomes from the Summit include: 1) provision of recommendations on practices, interventions, and policies that result in sustainable population-level behavior changes to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of child survival and development interventions in low- and middle-income countries; and 2) identification of critical evidence gaps to inform a research agenda.  An evidence-to-action strategy is being developed as part of the Summit to ensure application of the principles, implement evidence-based best practices, and address critical knowledge gaps.


mHealth 3-5 Dec 2012, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Washington DC area

WHCA supported the presentation of The Digital Health Scorecard,a new NCD health literacy metricthat is proposed as a new globally accessible non-communicable disease (NCD) health literacy metric. It is envisioned that the DHS could serve as an easily communicable and understandable tool to:

  • enable people to easily gain reliable insights into their current state of health;
  • raise public, professional and policy maker NCD health literacy;
  • catalyse needed behavioural and policy changes on all levels;
  • monitor impact of interventions; and ,
  • help achieve agreed national and global targets.


Health Literacy: Improving Health, Health Systems, and Health Policy Around the World
New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue New York, NY September 24, 2012

The Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences hosted a workshop on September 24, 2012 at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City addressing Health Literacy: Improving Health, Health Systems, and Health Policy Around the World.

The Roundtable brought together leaders from academia, industry, government, foundations and associations, and representatives of patient and consumer interests to promote health literacy through mechanisms and partnerships in both the public and private sector.  Franklin Apfel was invited to participate in this meeting and gave a talk minute presentation addressing the innovative work WHCA is doing in health literacy communication. Watch the video

The Movie of the HLS-EU project


Health and well-being: from an early start in&