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Doyle, P., Sixsmith, J., Barry, M.M., Mahmood, S., MacDonald, L., O’Sullivan, M., Oroviogoichoechea, C., Cairns, G., Guillen-Grima, F., Núñez-Córdoba, J.
Public health stakeholders’ perceived status of health communication activities for the prevention and control of communicable diseases across the EU and EEA/EFTA countries.
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Health communication activities to inform and influence individual and community decisions are increasingly being used to support the prevention and control of communicable diseases. Research shows that properly designed media campaigns can have a significant positive impact on health-related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour. However, the extent and nature of the use of health communication activities for the prevention and control of communicable diseases across Europe is currently unknown. To address this knowledge gap, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) commissioned a Research Consortium of universities to map current use and application of health communication activities, and to identify perceived needs for efficacious use of health communication, in particular in relation to the prevention and control of communicable diseases across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA)/European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. The purpose of this report is to present the findings from the mapping exercise and needs assessment gathered across the 30 EU and EEA/EFTA countries. The information is derived from data collection via telephone interviews and an e-survey, as well as an expert consultation. Questions sought to identify and map the following: what is currently being done in health communication; how are activities used; who is involved; which specific disease groups are being addressed; what are the key target audiences and the channels used to reach them; what education and training programmes for health communication are available; and how health communication activities are being evaluated. Furthermore, the data collection also identified priority areas to improve health communication in the EU and the perceived needs of public health bodies in order to be able to practice health communication effectively. The report presents the methodology used for the data collection followed by the aggregated information gathered. The discussion considers some of the main results and observations from the data collected and assesses their relevance and implication in relation to published literature, best practice and areas for improvement. The report’s annexes include specific health communication plans and policies identified by study participants, as well as examples of health communication initiatives for the prevention and control of communicable diseases. Specific health communication education and training courses identified by participants are also included, as well as identified stakeholder organisations in the area of health communication and communicable diseases. 
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