Strengthening health security by implementing the International Health Regulations (2005)

Communication for behavioural impact (COMBI)

A toolkit for behavioural and social communication in outbreak response


Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 126
Publication date: 2012
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/HSE/GCR/2012.13



This interagency (FAO, UNICEF, WHO) toolkit will be useful for anyone wanting to design effective outbreak prevention and control measures in community settings. Although, this toolkit is primarily intended for risk communication, developmental communication and health promotion/education personnel working in multidisciplinary teams to investigate and respond to disease outbreaks, it will also be useful for epidemiologists, clinicians, and public health officers who need to understand the local contexts and dynamics of an outbreak.

It is based on the premise that each outbreak is unique, and community understanding of diseases and their spread is complex, context dependent, and culturally-mediated. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all response is not sufficient.

The toolkit contains a 7-step approach, with corresponding tools, checklists and templates for designing behavioural and communication interventions that support the development of outbreak prevention and control measures that are not only technically-sound, but are also culturally appropriate, relevant and feasible for communities to act upon - to limit loss of life and minimize disruption to families, communities and societies.

The toolkit contains essential background information, case studies, and further references. It is to be used in conjunction with the “COMBI toolkit: field workbook for COMBI planning steps in outbreak response”.

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