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 aboput 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].



List of projects from 2010 to 2014:

  1. ECDC N.1 Feb 2010- Provide editorial support for the scientific journal Eurosurveillance
  2. ECDC N.2 Sept 2010-Provide editorial support for the annual meeting of the STI/HIV network on 28-30 September 2010 in Dublin
  3. ECDC N. 3 Dec 2010 - Provide services supporting the development of an ECDC Scientific writing course consultation from October to December 2010.
  4. ECDC N. 5 March 2011-Provide services developing a new ECDC brochure in English
  5. ECDC N. 5b March 2011- Updating and presentation of report on barriers to prudent antibiotics use campaigns.
  6. ECDC N. 6 October 2011-Chairing and moderating the one-day workshop on seasonal influenza in Stockholm
  7. ECDC N. 7 October 2011- Provision of a two day seminar in Stockholm by an expert in behavioural science.
  8. ECDC N. 8 October 2011-facilitation/moderation/rapporteuring services for the meeting on Roma and communicable disease prevention, inviting participants from several MS (7 or 8 with the largest number/ percentage), international organizations to discuss experiences in accessing Roma populations to be taking place in Vienna on November 28-29, 2011.
  9. ECDC N. 9 May 2012 - Provision of evidence-based communication package aiming at increasing vaccination uptake.
  10. ECDC N. 10 Feb 2012 -Facilitation/moderation/rapporteuring services for the annual meeting on STI and HIV in EU/EEA held in Stockholm on February 15-17, 2012.
  11. *Service Contract ECD.3527 June 2012-March 2013-Pilot Projects in 4 countries. Production of country-level tailor made Health Communication Materials in the area of Childhood immunization.
  12. ECDC N. 11 May 2012- Free thinkers for measles elimination
  13. ECDC N.12 Dec 2012-Coordination and facilitation of the process of development and provision of the curriculum and modules for the training on risk communication and measles prevention.
  14. ECDC N.13 OCT 2012-Scoping and conceptualisation of an ECDC multilingual website on vaccination.
  15. ECDC N.14 SEPT 2012- Provide facilitation, moderation, rapporteuring, filming service for the meeting between 12 -14 September 2012 in Dublin on improving immunization among hard-to-reach populations
  16. ECDC N.15 Sept 2012 -Provision of a one day seminar in Stockholm by an expert in behavioural science.
  17. ECDC N.16 OCT 2012- Provision of health communication experts for short term assignment (EMIS report)
  18. ECDC N.17 March 2013- Coordinating the creation of a social marketing strategy for Measles
  19. ECDC N.18 JAN 2013- Formative research to assess opportunities, processes and barriers for the implementation and evaluation of the ECDC communication toolkit on gastrointestinal diseases in school settings, including rebranding of toolkit components
  20. ECDC N. 19 DEC 2012 Partnership development in support of the measles and rubella elimination activities.
  21. ECDC N.20 Nov 2013- Coordination and delivery of a joint ECDC/EUPHA workshop on Risk and Crisis communication during the European Public Health Conference in Brussels (EUPHA 2013).
  22. ECDC N.21 OCT 2013- Coordination and facilitation of the process of development and provision of the curriculum and modules for the training on Risk Communication and measles prevention in Tallinn (Estonia) on 2-4-October 2013.
  23. ECDC N.22  March 2014- To provide expertise and coordinate the development and guidance on pre-post evaluation methods and tools to assess the effects of risk communication initiatives
  24. ECDC N.23 Nov 2013- to coordinate an intervention aimed at strengthening health care practitioners capacity to communicate on seasonal influenza vaccination. + Innovation Lab
  25. ECDC N.24  Feb 2014- to assess the contribution of health promotion theories and methods in communicable disease prevention in Europe.
  26. ECDC N.25 March 2014- Scoping and prioritisation of health communication research and country capacity building activities.
  27. ECDC N.26  May 2014- Multifaceted pilot intervention aiming at contributing to MMR uptake. BULGARIA
  28. ECDC N.27  March 2014- Field-test the social marketing prototype toolbox
  29. ECDC N.28  Dec 2013- Risk communication Academy
  30. ECDC N.29 March 2014- Risk communication draft executive
  31. ECDC N.30 March 2014- To arrange for a field study in order to pilot test and evaluate the "ECDC communication toolkit to support infection prevention in schools - focus: gastrointestinal diseases".
  32. ECDC N.31 March 2014- Feasibility study for the development of healthy partnerships


*The contract was not under the framework agreement and separately bid.


COMMUNICATION SUPPORT TO ECDC from 2014 to date within the SERVICE FRAMEWORK CONTRACT Framework Service Contract  ECDC 2014/013

Our approach to consultancy

Based upon extensive experience in serving as external consultants and using external consultants in our own national and international agency settings, our group of associates have agreed five key principles of engagement that have and will continue to underpin our communication support services.  These principles include respecting local knowledge, skill transfer, building sustainable interventions, on-going support and cost-respectful services.

1. Local knowledge: Although global and regional communications transcend national borders, every information marketplace has its unique local reality. The WHCA group has active links with communicators—including mainstream and health professional media, NGO advocates, government and health agency information officers—in all EU Member States, Accession and Neighbourhood Countries. We routinely engage local experts as coordinators of country based interventions and research. Moreover, we actively work to find ways for local knowledge to inform all of our training activities. This approach draws on participants’ local knowledge to inform discussions and more actively engages people in their own learning. 

2. Skill transfer: We believe that communication is a core public health function that needs to be developed by all agencies. We see our role as training trainers and linking agencies to appropriate national communication resources. We also see our role as helping to identify existing information resources and facilitating the adaptation and translation of these across borders. We identify, engage and network local experts, integrate existing local materials and provided training on how to conduct focus group research.  

3. Sustainable initiatives: While our diverse cultural group has the practical knowledge, skills and experience to directly assist local communicators in addressing their specific communication needs, we always try to build more sustainable initiatives by facilitating appropriate linkages with national resource experts.

4. On-going support- relationship building: While we work to enhance local capacities, we also see the need for on-going communication support, feedback and knowledge exchange. Over the last two years we have been using a gotomeeting virtual web based platform that allows for regular dialogue with ECDC and associate project coordinators. This platform, upon which 20+ persons can chat, see each other and share desktops, has helped us provide better on-going support for planning, interventional problem solving, reporting and follow-up.

5. Cost-respectful practise:  These are times of austerity. As a small independent networked organisation we can operate with low overhead and offer very fair and competitive fees. As importantly, we can use our networks to explore ways of multiplying the impact of our projects. One area that seems like a win-win situation is to link all projects into training/mentoring opportunities for recent public health, science writer, and journalism students and recent graduates. To this end we have developed informal and formal agreements with associates linked to public health and journalism training programmes and associations at the University of the West of England (UWE) - journalism and urban health; the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) - public health and health communication; the International Union of Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE)- health promotion and education; the European Social Marketing Association (ESMA) and the Centre for Innovation in Health Management (CIHM) /Leeds University Business School to help us identify potential junior experts and student researchers that could add value to projects. 



List of current projects under FWC ECDC 2014/013:

  1. SC1 ECDC 5010 - Assistance for country-tailored health communication activities to support measles and rubella elimination 
  2. SC2 ECDC 5006 - Comprehensive expert opinion on motivating hesitant population groups to vaccinate. Contribution to the Technical report on Rapid literature review on motivating hesitant population groups in Europe to vaccinate; and to the Technical report on Vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers and their patients in Europe.
  3. SC3 ECDC 5014 Evaluation of the ECDC communication toolkit on self-medication with antibiotics 
  4. SC4 ECDC 5132 Guide for use of social media by public health organisations in the EU/EEA for risk, crisis and corporate communication - Developing a social media strategy 
  5. SC5 ECDC 5143  Guide for culltural adaptation and use of Lets' talk about Protection and related communication malterials 
  6. SC6 ECDC 5567 Senior expert - Speaker and moderator for the sessions on social media at the ECDC - National Focal Points for Communication meeting  - 27-28 May 2015  
  7. SC7 ECD 5679 Collating effective evidence based interventions that could contribute to HIV/STIs prevention among young people in the context of sexual health in the EU/EEA 
  8. SC8 ECD 5711 Mapping initiatives and influencers that promote prudent use of antibiotics in human health, taking place in the EU/EEA and European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) partner countries (US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), both within and outside the EAAD umbrella - activity 
  9. SC09 ECD 5741 Design of a methodology and an implementation plan for interventions that will contribute to increased TB treatment adherence and improved treatment outcomes among specific hard-to-reach and vulnerable population groups in the EU/EEA 
  10. SC10 ECD 5814 Tools and information resources to support EU/EEA Member States in addressing vaccine hesitancy - Communication toolkit on vaccine hesitancy 
  11. SC11 ECD 5853 Identify core capacities for preparedness experts 
  12. SC12 ECD 6094 Collating effective evidence based interventions that could contribute to HIV/STIs prevention among young people in the context of sexual health in the EU/EEA 
  13. SC13 ECD 6309  Implement and evaluate interventions contributing to increasing TB treatment in pilot site(s), as selected within the specific contract no. 9 
  14. SC14 ECD 6331 Translate and adapt the new revised version of the ECDC guide Let's talk about protection, the guide Let's talk about hesitancy in 1 or 2 Pilot countries 
  15. SC15 ECD 6333 Writing and editing Technical Assessment Report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the area of communicable disease surveillance and prevention systems 
  16. SC16 ECD 6392 Update of the EAAD toolkit for hospital settings and speaker/moderator of the EAAD EU-Level event in November 2016 
  17. SC17 ECD 6389 Developing a list of core competencies for professionals working at the national level in preparedness 
  18. SC18 ECD 6436 Conduct a (systematic) literature review on the specific determinants related to vaccine hesitancy and HVP vaccination 
  19. SC20 ECD 6648 Scientific advice on behaviour change and risk communication around vaccine hesitancy 


Multifaceted interventions aimed at increasing vaccination uptake- pilot project,  18-21 November 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA has helped ECDC to facilitate the dissemination of the Bulgarian version of the Let’s talk about protection” -increasing childhood vaccine uptake communication action guide, by health care providers in selected communities in Bulgaria as a central part of a pilot project initiative to increase MMR vaccination uptake by underserved population groups.

The objectives of the intervention are to:

  1. Raise awareness of health care providers of obstacles to MMR uptake by underserved populations and ways to overcome these;
  2. Strengthen the capacity of healthcare providers in using communication tools and especially the “Let’s talk among protection” guide and accompanying flip book.
  3. Evaluate how use of different combinations of the tools (the “Let’s talk about protection” guide, flip-book and brochure) by the healthcare providers influences awareness, attitudes and behaviours of HCPs and underserved population groups.

Photo Album 

Seasonal influenza vaccination “Reframing the issue”

4 November 2013, Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA will moderate and facilitate discussion among the participants who will share stories about their personal, institutional, community and nationalexperiences of influenza vaccination related issues. __________________________________________

Risk Communication in the prevention and control of communicable diseases
An ECDC training course, Tallinn, Estonia - 2-4 October 2013

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA has facilitated the delivery of a risk communication training course to 4 EU Member States including Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.

The overall objective of the course was to develop the capacities of public health programme managers and practitioners to analyse, understand and apply risk communication concepts, principles and approaches to the prevention and control of communicable disease threats on regional, national and/or local levels.

This training experience aimed to Raise awarenessBuild competence and Translate & Adapt knowledge into concrete actions.


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


Cultural adaptation research workshop, 28 January 2013, ECDC, Stockholm

This cultural adaptation research training workshop was held as part of the ECDC pilot project which is adapting and translating - “Let’s talk about protection”- a vaccination communication guide for healthcare providers (HCPs) and related support documents and tools for use in in 4 countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

A key activity in the project is comprehension testing which involves testing translated materials with representatives of end user groups (in this case HCPs, parents/ grandparents, “poorly reached” populations, and media/ communicators) to see if the information presented is understandable and helpful.

The comprehension phase will use two qualitative research methods – interview and focus groups. WHCA associate Nadia Oprandi provided practical training to country coordinators on ways to design, recruit, conduct and report on focus groups and interviews. The workshop aimed at ensuring that all experts involved in the project share a common understanding and set of skills on the research, so that reliable and consistent implementation in the field is ensured.


Social marketing conference 15 November 2012, London, UK

Social marketing conference 27 November 2012, Lisbon, Portugal


 WHCA conducted two Focus groups with Country experts and selected other social marketing experts to review and comment on draft contents of a practical social marketing “toolbox” that it is developing under contract to ECDC. The toolbox aims to catalyse the interest and serve the needs of public health managers and practitioners in addressing communication and engagement challenges related to enhancing measles and rubella protection amongst currently un-protected and under-protected groups.


Inform, protect, immunise:  engaging underserved populationsDublin, 4-6 September 2012

WHCA supplied facilitation and rapporteur services in this ECDC meeting that provided a forum for discussion on how knowledge and experiences could be used to stimulate the use of preventive services in the area of communicable diseases. The meeting aimed to find practical solutions to current situations, especially within the WHO measles and rubella elimination target buy 2015 and facing economic crisis challenges.[read more 


Health and well-being: from an early start in life to healthy ageing
Annual Business and Technical Conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks
St Petersburg, Russian Federation, 14–16 June 2012

Three hundred fifty European Mayors and other political and health municipal leaders gather in St. Petersburg 14-16 June at the first-ever WHO European Healthy Cities Network and Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks conference to be held in the Russian Federation. City officials from over 35 countries in the WHO European Region will join politicians and health coordinators from 15 Russian Healthy Cities to share their practical experience in catalysing action for health and wellbeing across peoples’ life spans from a healthy start in life to healthy aging. [read more]


General partners’ meeting, Newcastle, 15-17 May 2012

The second ALICE RAP General partners' meeting focused on trans-disciplinary research, moving forward technical work in each of the seven project Areas, and setting the scientific goals of the project within a wider public health framework to improve policy for population well-being. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group. 
[Press release]
AliceRap website
Meeting Highlights on video
Computer-mediated communication video


Risk Communication Training Course Development
Focus on Measles 
Stockholm 10-11 May,  2012

WHCA facilitated a meeting of risk communication experts to agree a process and content of a new ECDC training curriculum to be offered in 2013. The experts will work virtually as a team and test the curriculum with ECDC staff in October or November 2012. 
Watch this space for more information.


Free thinkers for measles 
Stockholm, 23-24 April 2012

WHCA supplied facilitation and rapporteur services in this ECDC meeting of public health experts and successful professionals with experience in management, marketing, campaigning and behaviour change. The purpose of the event was to generate new ideas for promoting measles vaccination in Europe. [read more]



Communicable disease prevention among Roma 
28-29 November 2011, Rainers hotel, Vienna (Austria)

WHCA supplied background research paper, planning, facilitation and rapporteur services in this international conversational conference whose scope was two-fold:

-       to share best practices and lessons learned in improving access of Roma population to public health programs to prevent communicable diseases, by bringing together key stakeholders from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Spain with experience in working with and for Roma.