ECDC launches new framework for prevention of communicable diseases


ECDC has developed a new framework for the prevention of infectious diseases, which is based on social and behavioural sciences, health promotion, health literacy and health education, and which provides an extra focus on socio-economic risk factors.

Andrea Ammon, ECDC Director, says:

"The ECDC prevention framework marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to support EU Member States in preventing communicable diseases and safeguard public health in the EU/EEA. By integrating social and behavioural science in our prevention work, we aim to strengthen and better equip health systems with a more people-centred approach to addressing current and future challenges."

Within the new framework, social and behavioural sciences- aimed at understanding the factors affecting people’s decisions and behaviours- will complement ECDC’s long-established prevention work that has been largely based on medical epidemiology and microbiology until now.

Through this, public health policies and programmes are foreseen be more acceptable and accessible for individuals and communities, thereby optimising their potential effectiveness. Similarly, methods from these sciences will be used to consider social and economic risk factors and to advocate for evidence-based health policies.

One of the cornerstones of this work will be the establishment of a Community of Practice on Prevention, to be launched later in 2024 with the aim to gather a critical mass of expertise in prevention of communicable diseases.

The Community of Practice will support countries in enhancing their prevention interventions using methods from social and behavioural sciences. It will also link professionals throughout the EU/EEA and facilitate the sharing of good practices and lessons learned for the prevention of communicable diseases.

The prevention framework also gives ECDC new opportunities to cooperate with other EU institutions, national public health agencies, international organisations, academia, civil society, and others in prevention work.

The framework follows the guiding principles of public health, such as respect for human rights, universal health coverage, gender equality, equity, and inclusion (including for ethnic minorities and socially vulnerable populations) and community engagement in public health response.

The framework follows the amended ECDC mandate, which was endorsed by the European Parliament in October 2022, and which calls upon the agency to develop a framework for the prevention of infectious diseases.

Read the framework