ECDC Expert consultation on community engagement in public health emergency preparedness

Expert meeting
27 Mar 2019 - 28 Mar 2019
Stockholm, Sweden

The expert consultation meeting organised by ECDC seeks to identify enabling factors and barriers to good practice in community engagement in the context of public health emergency preparedness. Outcomes of this meeting will inform the development of an ECDC guidance on the topic.

Public health emergencies cannot be handled effectively without taking into consideration the perspectives of the involved communities. Due to the importance of this topic, ECDC has developed a multiannual project to assess enablers and barriers of community and institutional synergies in emergency preparedness. A series of ECDC reports that gather evidence on good practices and present case studies have already been published, and the meeting in March constitutes a next step in this comprehensive project.

The expert consultation in March 2019 will focus on assessing key learnings in the area of community engagement, in order to inform the development of an ECDC guidance. The meeting seeks to identify what has worked successfully in different contexts, as well as what may not have worked. Particular attention will be paid to practices and patterns of cooperation between affected communities and the official institutions mandated to address a public health threat. The meeting convenes international community engagement actors, technical experts, and ECDC stakeholders. Participation in the meeting is by invitation.

The ECDC project on community engagement included a literature review on ‘Community and institutional preparedness synergies’. This report focused on factors that can enable or hinder the work of communities and institutions together to improve public health emergency preparedness.​ Following this literature review, a series of case studies were conducted in order to assess the public health response to specific outbreaks in four EU/EEA countries and the involvement of the communities, in order to identify good practices. The case studies focused on outbreaks of tick-borne diseases – with ECDC reports published in 2018 –, and gastrointestinal diseases – with the corresponding reports planned to be published in 2019.

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A literature review on community and institutional preparedness synergies

This literature review identifies enablers and barriers to community and institutional synergies in preparedness. The main themes identified relating to barriers and enablers were context, infrastructure and process.​​

How communities can collaborate with institutions during public health emergencies: Case studies focusing on tick-borne diseases

Focusing on two recent public health emergencies related to tick-borne diseases in two EU countries, ECDC experts investigated the public health response and specifically the involvement of the communities.