Communicating for health

Be transparent

To build trust, communicators must be transparent about how WHO analyses data and how it makes recommendations and policies. Messages also need to acknowledge uncertainty and quickly address any misconceptions or errors. Communicators must rapidly and publicly report the participants, processes and conclusions of:

  • guideline development meetings
  • International Humanitarian Relief (IHR) emergency committee meetings
  • working groups.

Transparency of all communications is essential to ensure the credibility and trust of WHO information, advice and guidance.

WHO staff members are analysing data

Make information available quickly

For health threats of all kinds, it is important for WHO to provide the public and media with quick and easy access to up-to-date information.

Acknowledge uncertainty

Transparency is particularly important at times of high uncertainty. During public health emergencies, communicators may have to announce recommendations before all facts are known .

Address errors

WHO communicates openly when the Organization has made an error and rapidly issues correct information. Communicators should determine which media channels and spokespeople can most effectively address the misinformation.

Communicate relationships with non-State actors

WHO collaborations require transparency and clear descriptions of the nature and purpose of relationships with other organizations.