Workshops, Networks and Projects

Move for the 3 Billion campaign!

WHO will lead a series of physical activity events between 2019 and 2023. WHCA joined the step challenge during the week 15-22 September 2019on the occasion of RC69 and walked and ran a total of 365,579 STEPS, the equivalent of 255 km! (aprox. the distance from Rome to Florence)




 Adapting vaccine messages: 5 translation tips


Street lawyers and legal literacy: determinants of health.

Congratulations to WHCA award winning intern, Martin Luca de la Cruz, whose work for Avvocato di Strada in Foggia, Italy is  featured in new book  “Io, avvocato di strada” (I am a Street Lawyer).

Martin’s capacity to help homeless people (immigrants and Italian natives) access, understand and take action on their human rights and entitlements is described by author/lawyer Massimiliano Arena. [read more...]

Martin is currently working as caseworker at EASO, and based at Naples sections of the Territorial Commission of Salerno (Italy). He is working on the processing of applications for international protection, applying the EU asylum acquis and relevant national legislation.

? Working on the processing of applications for international protection, applying the EU asylum



Workshop on Vaccination: Frames, Facts, Fictions and Feelings, Centre for Independent Journalism, 9-10 February 2018, Bucharest (Romania) 

WHCA worked with the Romanian Centre for Independent Journalism this last week in developing and facilitating a workshop on Vaccination.The workshop brought together 20 journalists from around the country working in local media outlets, bloggers and investigative journalists. 

The aim of the meeting was to increase knowledge of journalist and enhance capacities to cover vaccination stories and to help build relationships with public health and vaccination experts. To that end, the workshop format was structured as a series of  World Café conversations between small groups of journalists and pairs of vaccination experts from institutes, academia and general practice.Vaccination rates in Romania have been driopping over last few years and there is a growing anti-vaccination movement fueled by celebrities, rapidly changing governments, mistrust in health system and supply problems. These factors have all contributed to lower vaccination uptake resulting in major measles outbreak with over 30 deaths to date, mainly in unvaccinated children under 12 months.

Presentation 1-2  Presentation 3  Presentation 4 


Translation alone is not enough

This guide introduces an innovative five-step, stakeholder-based approach to adapting health communication materials. It describes how countries can take any health communication material (produced in English or other languages) and create adapted products which reflect national or local realities, needs and assets without losing the scientific correctness, core concepts and messages of the original version. Lessons learned from applying this approach in WHCA ECDC-supported projects to pilot and adapt the "Lets talk about Protection - Enhancing childhood vaccination uptake” A Communication guide for healthcare providers" in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary and Romania. [download PDF of the GUIDE]


Lets talk about hesitancy - Enhancing confidence in vaccination and uptake. Practical guide for public health programme managers and communicators

This guide provides practical evidence-based and peer-reviewed advice for public health programme managers (PHPMs) and communicators involved with immunisation services. It identifies ways to enhance people’s confidence in vaccination and addresses common issues which underlie vaccination hesitancy. PHPMs are the target audience for this guide, as they are uniquely positioned to initiate, coordinate and monitor the comprehensive system-wide action needed to address the many psychosocial determinants of hesitancy and provide support to healthcare providers in their efforts to enhance vaccination confidence and uptake. This guide serves as a supplement to the ECDC guide Let’s talk about protection], which focuses on strengthening the capacities of healthcare providers to better address concerns about vaccination and tackle obstacles to vaccination uptake. [download PDF of the GUIDE]

Lets talk about Protection- Enhancing childhood vaccination uptake- updated

This Guide provides practical peer-reviewed advice and evidence-based guidance for healthcare providers who are involved with immunisation services i on ways to increase the uptake of childhood vaccinations. This advice and guidance is delivered by giving voice to the thoughts, knowledge and insights of parents, social marketers ii, health promoters and other health service and public health experts. The advice aims to help healthcare providers gain insights into the behaviour and choices of different stakeholders and identify ways to better address concerns about vaccination and other obstacles to vaccination uptake. [download PDF of the GUIDE]



South East European Center of Infectious Diseases Surveillance and Control Stakeholder Meeting  2-3 March 2016, Rogner Hotel, Tirana, Albania

National and regional disease surveillance and response experts gathered in Tirana 2-3 March for a SECID/CORDS stakeholder meeting. The meeting aimed to agree priority action plans for SECID network. Zika preparedness and response was a key issue on agenda. Some international agencies such as WHO, ECDC, USAID, and government representatives were also attending.

WHCA was giving facilitation and communication support services and gathering interviews from some of the stakeholders. 

To know more visit SECID  and CORDS website.


A-debate: U-Turn on Addictions. Biological and social science to reframe addictions policy - Barcelona, February 17-18, 2016 

ALICE RAP hosted a final debate to present and discuss key research findings coming out of the project, their policy implications and the science with the greatest potential to contribute to smart and evidence-based global drugs policy.
The event was attended by high-level scientists, policy actors from national and international organisations and expert civil society actors. [read more]

Read the final version of the  A-Debate Science Summary document. 


4th Annual Pharma Anti-Counterfeiting 2015 “Competences to Combat Counterfeits” 8-9 September 2015, The Kensington Close Hotel, Wrights Lane, London, UK

 Franklin Apfel gave a presentation on DAY 2 at 15:50 – Raising “counterfeit” health literacy -people, professionals and policy makers.


Where’s the pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies market heading? Counterfeit medicines issue is creating a growing threat to patients in every part of the world, with increasing numbers in Europe and the USA. Customs department in every part of the world are finding more and more illegally produced drugs in day-to-day life. [read more]



EBOLA – Intensified Preparedness Programme (IPP) First pilot training: CORDS - Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance - 25-26 November 2014 Hotel Imperial, Kampala Uganda


Franklin Apfel together with Dr. Petra Dickmann and  Prof. Nigel Lightfoot is one of the facilitators during a 2-day pilot training on EBOLA – Intensified Preparedness Programme (IPP) organized by CORDS. The workshop convenes key stakeholders from several African Countries  and aims to build capacity in communication and community work to better manage the Ebola outbreak.


ALICE RAP Steering Group Meeting, 3-4 February 2015, Barcelona 

The aim of the ALICE RAP Barcelona steering meeting is to review project achievements and publications to date and agree reporting plans and the agenda and programme for early 2016. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group.


CORDS- Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance - One Health workshop 
10 - 12 November 2014 - Bangkok, Thailand

Franklin Apfel has been one of the facilitators during a 3-day pilot One Health workshop on Influenza H7N9 and Ebola organized by CORDS. The workshop convened key stakeholders from 7 South-Eastern Asian countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries are part of 2 networks, MBDS (Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance) and APEIR (Asia Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research).

More videos from ONE Health workshop can be watched on CORDS Youtube Channnel


Cultural Adaptation and translation of Health- related materials

Assistance for country-tailored health communication activities to support measles and rubella elimination
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) August 2014-March 2015

WHCA, under the terms of a Framework Contract, has been working and supporting ECDC initiatives and pilot projects over the past few years. One major area of activity has been the development and adaptation of evidence-based communication tools to r support health care providers during their daily interactions with patients and/or beneficiaries around topics related to vaccination in general, and especially MMR uptake.  Activities have included coordinating the development of the ECDC guide Let’s talk about protection; the cultural adaptation of the guide and supporting materials (called guide set) in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania; the pilot testing of the guide set in three Roma communities in Bulgaria. As part of this process WHCA has helped ECDC develop guidance for cross-border adaptation of health related materials.

Over the next 8 months WHCA will support more country-led teams in adapting Let’s talk about protection plus work with Heidi Larson and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene to develop a supplement on “vaccine hesitancy” for use by relevant health care providers and public health professionals to enhance communications between providers and parents and grandparents  around vaccine preventable diseases and vaccines.

[read more about WHCA activities within the Framework contracts with ECDC]





4th ALICE RAP GENERAL PARTNERS' MEETING, 12-14 May 2014, Amsterdam

The WHCA Global Health and Journalism Initiative selected two students - Martin Luca de la Cruz (Faculty of Law, Padua University) and Charlotte Sexauer (MA Journalism - University of West England)  to participate in the Alice RAP meetings in Amsterdam to hear, debate and reflect on ways some scientists are trying to influence drug and addiction- related policy making in Europe and beyond through research and advocacy.

[Read more about ALICE RAP project]

Read Charlotte Sexauer's article

Read Martin Luca de la Cruz's article


Health in Europe: are we there yet? Learning from the past, building the future
13-16 November 2013, The Square, Rue Ravenstein 2, Brussels, Belgium

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA facilitated a panel on Risk Communication  for the prevention of communicable diseases: Introducing a new risk communication paradigm. Friday , 15 November from 13:30 to 15:00 Room M4.


5th Annual WHO Healthy Cities Conference, Izmir, Turkey, 20-22 September 2013

WHCA will coordinate the press conference and moderation services during the 5th “Annual Business and Technical Conference” of WHO European Healthy Cities Network and European National Healthy Cities Network.

[read more]


Population-Level Behavior Change (PLBC) Evidence Summit for Child Survival
FHI 360, 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
June 3-4, 2013

Franklin Apfel, Managing Director of World Health Communication Associates, joined forces with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to launch the Behavior Change Evidence Summit for Child Survival on June 3–4 to ensure we are all doing what works best to end preventable child deaths and ensure healthy growth and development. The Summit brings together global leaders to determine what is needed to change health-related behaviors in lower and middle income countries (LMICs) and reduce under-five mortality.


Follow the summit on Twitter:

Hashtags: #GHmatters #Promise4Children


The World Health Editors Network (WHEN)meeting

Geneva, 18-23 May 2013

Four "cub reporters" have entered the stadium of the 66 World Health Assembly. They have faced and overcome some obstacles to access health information since the very first day. They are trying hard to make health information understandable to the general public in the attempt to democratise knowledge so everybody can leave the stadium and bring home some useful health information to start being a policy maker in their own homes. [read more]


ALICE RAP Steering Group Meeting, 5-7 February 2013, Barcelona

The aim of the ALICE RAP Barcelona steering meeting is to review project achievements and publications to date and agree reporting plans and the agenda and programme for the project meeting 23-25 April 2013. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group.


Risk communication pilot training, 16-17 January 2013, ECDC, Stockholm

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA has been coordinating the development of a risk communication training course. To this end WHCA recruited three international experts working at the forefront of research on and practice of risk communication and managed a curriculum development process. The course modules, developed through one face-to-face and five virtual meetings of the experts, were used to support the delivery of this 2-day “pilot” training course for ECDC staff.  Feedback and evaluation from this pilot testing is being used to finalise a course syllabus and inform ECDC planning for further development of the training programme.


2012 Child Safety Report Cards

On June 12, 2012 the European Child Safety Alliance of EuroSafe  launched the Child Safety Report Cards for more than 30 European countries at the European Parliament in Strasbourg with the support of MEP Malcolm Harbour Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli.[read more]

The “Unofficial” World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) Action Guide to the: WHO – 65th World Health Assembly
21–26 May 2012, Geneva 

Download a copy here









Workshop on Wellbeing and Happiness

Columbia University, New York City
Sunday, April 1st, 2012

WHCA participated in the Workshop on Wellbeing and Happiness which aims to reframe the way the world looks at and works for development.

[read more]


Annual meeting STI and HIV in EU/EEA
15-17 February 2012
Elite Hotel Marina Tower & ECDC

WHCA supplies facilitation and rapporteur services in this annual meeting that is meant to provide a platform for expert discussion amongst the nominated contact points for STI and HIV with respect to the recent STI and HIV surveillance reports to better understand the spread of disease and differences across EU/EEA Member States, and with respect to several ongoing projects in these disease areas initiated by ECDC.
[Read programme] ECDC website


The European Health Literacy Conference
Museum of Natural Science, Brussels November 22 -23, 2011

WHCA introduced system scorecard approach concepts to the meeting and will help with report finding dissemination. 150 people from more than 20 countries took part in the conference and discussed the developments and policy impacts of the health literacy survey results, which were launched. European Commissioner for health John Dalli opened the conference which was endorsed by several members of the European Parliament: Christofer Fjellner, Karin Kadenbach, Pat the Cope Gallagher and Antoniya Parvanova. [read more...]

The Movie of the HLS-EU project


9th International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development
Education Matters: Empowering Young People for a Healthy Future
Berlin, KfW, October 19 – 20, 2011

WHCA staff engaged small group activities in the Market place and  World Café sessions aimed at capturing their collective wisdom and experience in advocating, implementing, sustaining and strengthening human rights approaches to sexual and reproductive health.
[read more...]



COVID-19 health literacy relates to people’s ability to access, understand and use rapidly emerging information to protect themselves and others from infection.  To support this process WHCA has created the  Connecting Communities Covid-19 newsletter  systematically collectingn relevant information since the beggining of the pandemia. On a daily basis we search for, select, package and distribute COVID-19 related information  family, friends and colleagues. The newsletter is free and you can subscribe here.
[ more]



Coronavirus – Connecting Communities 
Strengthening social connectiveness -  Practicing physical distancing

WHCA and Inspirit Creatives are joining together to develop and manage a Coronavirus - Connecting Communities Initiative to bring practical 'News you Can use” to all. We welcome your stories and reflections that could help others to better understand, cope, thrive and build resilience.




69th Session of the WHO Regional Committeee for Europe, 16-19 September 2019, Copenhagen, Denmark

WHCA is pleased to announce the publication Better Health for Europe – more equitable and sustainable Transformational Reflections 2010 – 2020 by WHO RegionalOffice for Europe. This book tells the story of how all the people who work in the Regional and Country Offices of the WHO Regional Office for Europe have sought, over the last ten years, to make a reality of this goal. 





Written by Richard Alderslade, Franklin Apfel and Sabrina Cecconi


Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe from 2010 until 2020, narrates the story on behalf of all staff and describes the vision, strategic thinking and processes followed, as well as the impact achieved. Political leaders, public health managers and health practitioners and advocates from across the WHO European Region and beyond were invited to enrich the narrative with their observations. In extracts from witnesses’ interviews they reflect upon the relevance and utility of the work of the Regional Office, throughout the book. 

This book is divided into three parts. Part 1: The Seven Strategic Action Priorities, presents the systematic process the Regional Office has followed in developing the policy frameworks, evidence base, capacities, relationships, partnerships, networks and skills needed to transform and enhance action for better, more equitable and sustainable health and well-being in Europe and beyond. Part 2: The Technical Achievements, describes outcomes and the impacts of Regional Office work on the two objectives and four priority actions of the Health 2020 European policy framework. Part 3: Conclusions and Messages, summarises reflections and looks at challenges beyond 2020.


Healthy, Prosperous Lives for all in the European Region – High-level Conference on Health Equity, 11-13 June 2019, Ljubljana, Slovenia

WHCA is moderating some of the sessions at the High-level Conference on Health Equity, hosted by the Government of Slovenia. The meeting will provide evidence and information on the solutions that can be implemented to reduce health inequalities and accelerate progress towards better health, well-being and prosperity for all in the European Region. [read more]


THE PEP 2018 Symposium “Room C”, WHO
Geneva, 12 December 2018

 The Symposium was on achieving multiple benefits through active mobility:reduced emissions and noice, better environment and improved human health.  Dr Franklin Apfel moderated a round table discussion following 2 keynote speeches: one by Prof Jean François Toussaint, (Université Paris Descarted) on the health benefits of active mobility and the other by Michael Walsh (independent consutant) on a global overview on motor vehicle pollution. The audience of the Symposium was made by THE PEP focal points from almost 30 different Member States and organizations  in the UNECE-WHO/Europe region, representing the transport, health and environment ministries. 

To know more visit THE PEP website


Global Conference on Primary Health Care
25 - 26 October, Astana, Kazakhstan

WHCA attended the Global Conference on Primary Health Care to celebrate the 40th anniversary meeting of the Alma Ata agreement in Astana in October to continue its interview work for the EURO 10 year reflection book.

Charlotte Marchandise, Deputy Mayor for Health in Rennes (France)   delivers Mayors Almaty Commitments to closing session of  WHO/UNICEF Astana Global Conference on Primary Health Care and calls for all Regions to aim to mobilise 20,000 healthy cities each to help realise the goals of the New Declaration !


International Healthy Cities Conference
Belfast 1-4 October 2018

WHCA attended WHO Healthy Cities Belfast meeting to continue its interviewing for the WHO -EURO 10 year reflection book. 


68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe
Rome, Italy, 17–20 September 2018

WHCA attended the WHO 68th Regional Committee. All 53 Member States were represented. Prime Ministers from Italy and Albania and over 20 Ministers of Health, Environment, Transport, Social Affairs joined the over 500 participants. High on the agenda was the new European Health Report, new public health strategy, an innovation and unique Men’s Health Initiative, reports on Migrant and Refugee Health programmes, new economic studies to support the case for Universal Health Coverage, and the renewed Tallinn Charter agreements.  WHO DG Tedros commend the Region for leading the way in a wide range of initiatives from Migrant Health, to governance to UHC.


Franklin Apfel, Managing Director of WHCA moderated a side event on THEPEP initiative and continued its interviewing work in the preparation of the WHO-EURO office 10 year reflection book.

For the first time RC68 introduced an @ActiveRC68 initiative session that included a step competition. Participants were asked to count their steps during the days of the meeting. We are pleased to report that Sabrina Cecconi, WHCA Programme Director, was the winner of this first WHO EURO RC competition.  Congratulations to Sabrina! This initiative is part of a larger effort by the NCD group based in the Moscow Office of WHO to a catalyse healthier and more sustainable meetings. WHCA is looking at ways to support this initiative and welcomes ideas and communications from our followers.


Fifth high-level meeting of small countries: working together for better health and well-being for all, 26–27 June 2018, Reykjavik, Iceland

WHO established the Small Countries Initiative so that countries in the WHO European Region with a population of less than 1 million people can share their knowledge on implementing Health 2020.

WHCA joined the meeting to conduct interviews with Ministers and others to further support the development of a planned WHO Regional Office for Europe 10 year reflection book and advocacy guide on health impacts in Member States of new policies (e.g. Health 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals), programmes, governance structures and leadership models. [... read more]


Health Systems for Prosperity and Solidarity: leaving no one behind, 13-14 June 2018, Tallinn, Estonia

This WHO High-level regional meeting was held in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Tallinn Charter.

WHCA joined the meeting to conduct interviews with Ministers and others to support the development of a planned WHO Regional Office for Europe 10 year reflection book and advocacy guide on health impacts of new policies (e.g. Health 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals), programmes, governance structures and leadership models.

The programme was designed around 3 themes:
include – improving health coverage, access and financial protection for everyone;
invest – making the case for investing in health systems; and
innovate – harnessing innovations and systems to meet people’s needs. [... read more]


71World Health Assembly, 21–26 May 2018, Geneva, Switzerland

WHCA attended the WHA 71 to initiate its work on a Ten year Reflection book on Impact of the WHO Regional office for Europe.

WHA71 was not business as usual. On the Sunday before sessions started WHO organised a Walk the Talk event which mobilised over 3,000 people to demonstrate their commitment to enhancing physical activity by ‘walking-the-talk’  individually and in teams from the Palais ‘Broken Chair” square to Lake Geneva. The event was inspiring, bonding and healthy. [read more...]


HPV Prevention and Control Board Meeting, 15-16 May 2018,  Bucharest, Romania

The role of Health Care Providers in HPV vaccination and screening programme implementation; Prevention and control of HPV and HPV related cancers in Romania.  
WHCA gave a presentation on “10 tips to supporting Health Care Provider HPV related communications with media “; and produced a series of short videos on key messages from presenters [see[read more...]


Countering the hazard merchants blog series

Series one - New tobacco industry frames to undermine public health

A four part interview and commentary series 

Interviewer: Franklin Apfel, World Health Communication Associates (WHCA)

Interviewee: Derek Yach, Founder and Director Phillip Morris International (PMI) Foundation for a Smoke- Free World

Commentary: Professor Martin McKee, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

In this blog series Apfel analyses and McKee comments on Yach’s interview responses on the tobacco industry and his involvement in the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The series is intended to identify new ways in which the industry is attempting to (re)frame conversations on tobacco and health and tobacco industry behaviours as demonstrated by their adherence to or circumvention of article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control states: "In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law." 

New Tobacco Industry communication strategies to undermine public health: Part I - 50 shades of gray frame

New Tobacco Industry communication strategies to undermine public health: Part II - “There’s been no progress in 10 years”

New Tobacco Industry communication strategies to undermine public health: Part III - Redefining the "end game" goal1

New Tobacco Industry communication strategies to undermine public health: IV - Tobacco industry research sets the gold standard

A Stronger Possibility for Reinvesting Tobacco Money in Public Health for a Smoke-Free World


International Cycling Conference, (Mannheim Baroque Palace) Mannheim, Germany from 19 to 21 September, 2017







The ICC is a 3-day meeting to highlight the role of active mobility from an international perspective. It is an engaging, innovative and interactive event gathering international researchers and practitioners  to discuss the role of active mobility in the modern world, intersecting academic, political and practical thinking strategies.  Dr Franklin Apfel from World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) moderated THE PEP Relay Race, at the International Cycling Conference in Mannheim, on 21.09.2017. 

For more information click here 



The NEW WHCA “Unofficial” Action Guide to World Health Assembly 70

This “unofficial” WHCA Action Guide is a compilation of information from the WHO website for the 70th World Health Assembly. It is presented for use by World Health Communication Associates (WHCA), World Health Editors Network (WHEN) members and others attending the WHA70 and is not intended for sale. It includes useful information regarding the Assembly, including texts of key discussion papers and resolutions. It aims to serve as a “one-stop” background document to the agenda items for Committee A during WHA70 in Geneva, 22–31 May 2017.

[download the WHA Guide]


World Health Minute: news you will use

World Health Minute (WHM) is a new public health news aggregation platform that provides quick access to global public health reporting. 

The aim of the WHM is to bring early intelligence to communities of practise focused on different agenda items of the WHA70 and issues related to action areas of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The WHM aggregator aims to be a key information source for public health leaders, managers, practitioners, advocates and investors interested in policy issues, developments in products and patents, political shifts and movements in the world of public health.  The website will be launched in the run up  to the WHA.

The WHM is an initiative of CSD Consulting (Switzerland), World Health Communication Associates (UK) and Hyderus (UK).

[download the WHM]


McDonalds Fishponds Appeal Hearing ends. Verdict likely after the election! 

 McDonalds exhibited typical hazard merchant behaviours throughout the hearing.

First they rubbish evidence.  McDonald paid for so-called obesity expert discounted evidence which has guided councils (minimum 400 and 800 meters distances from places where young people gather) in protecting school children from in-their-face fast food lures.

Second they blame individual choices for all problems

 The McDonald’s paid for expert- misrepresented major studies:

 Foresight obesity study and McKinsey obesity study which both call for comprehensive environmental actions to curb obesity and other non communicable diseases. He repeatedly boasted about McDonald’s many healthy choices without giving any evidence on what people in McDonald’s actually eat. 

Third they pump tons of money into promoting themselves, their products and behaviours which will favour their bottom line. McDonald spend 2.4billion plus on advertising their hamburgers and Happy Meals. This is more than the entire regular annual budget of the WHO!

Read summary reports: report 1, report 2, report 3 

Follow debate on Twitter #noMacinF


HIV/STI prevention among Youth in Europe using social media expert ECDC, Tomtebodavägen 11A, Stockholm, 06-07 March 2017

WHCA presented the results of a study conducted in collaboration with a team of researchers from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical. The meeting provideed a succesful platform for expert discussion on how to improve the draft of the "Handbook for preventing HIV/STI among youth using social media". [download Agenda]


THE PEP 2016 -  SymposiumContributing to economic development and stimulating job creation through investment in environment- and health-friendly transport, 7 November 2016, WHO Headquarters, Geneva

Dr Franklin Apfel moderated a round table discussion following a keynote speech by Griffin Carpenter, New Economic Foundation. The audience of the Symposium will be made by THE PEP focal points from countries in the UNECE-WHO/Europe region, representing the transport, health and environment ministries. Participants from almost 30 different Member States and organizations are expected.

The Symposium will focus on two topics:

  • Greening the economy
  • Green and health-friendly investment and Green jobs in transport

Issues that could be addressed may include the following:

 (a) What are the trends in the UNECE-WHO European Region in investments and financing that contribute to the achievement of sustainable transport, the reduction of emission of air pollutants, GHGs and noise for the transport sector?

(b) How effective are current financing and investment policies in addressing the impact of air pollution from transport? What can be done to make such policies more effective? What are the financial incentives and how effective are they?

(c) Is the job-creating potential of green and healthy transport generally known and fully understood? How can communication be improved? Which

(d) What are the action priorities for THE PEP?


Environmental Health Communication Seminar | 19 & 20 October Lisbon

Franklin Apfel joined with Roberto Bertollini in delivering a 2-day module on Environmental Health Communication to PHD students of University of Lisbon’s EnviHealth and Co. Programme 



The programme included lectures, group work and role play focussed on

Sessions 1 and 2 - Risk and crisis communication
Case study- Simulated nuclear accident 

“A nuclear accident has been reported at Almaraz nuclear power plant located close to the border between Spain and Portugal. Apparently there was a breakdown of the cooling system, which allowed the fuel to overheat and experience a “meltdown”, burn through the containment vessel and spew radiation far and wide. The extent of damage is still being investigated.”
Students prepared ministerial briefing and public announcements  

Session 3- Working with (Traditional and Social) Media
Group work- developing media plans

Session 4 - Advocacy –Case studies

a) Community action against McDonald’s application for drive through restaurant in Fishponds Bristol UK

b) Greening hospital premises in Lisbon


Strategies to increase vaccine acceptance and uptake 
Les Pensières Fondation Mérieux Conference Center- France 26-28 September 2016 

WHCA team gave two speeches: Franklin Apfel talked about how to use core social marketing concepts and approaches in addressing vaccine hesitancy challenges; Sabrina Cecconi talked about the importance of translation and cultural adaptation of health communication materials in addressing vaccination uptake challenges and other public health issues. 

[read the programme]

Watch the videos:

How social marketing can boost health

Adapting vaccine messages: 5 translation tips

Adapting vaccine messages: ‘translation is not enough’


WHCA joins forces with The News Minute in Geneva to tell stories around major public health global threats.
HA 69, Geneva 23-28 May 2016. 

Our team was out and about the Palais searching for stories to tell using different approaches, like interviewing people, listening to sessions, asking questions to participants, gathering active health stakeholders around the table to reflect together about the hottest topics listed in theWHA Agenda, including childhood obesity, undernutrition, communicable diseases,etc as well as the role of the NON state actors in the future of WHO.

Chef Jamie Oliver is interviewed by TNM&WHCA team at the WHA69 in Geneva


Read more articles on the TNM:

Is Jamie Oliver's food revolution a marketing tool or a public health campaign?

Here's why we think Jamie Oliver is cool as a cucumber


Chef Jamie Oliver's speech at the WHA69 side ministerial event on childhood obesity and malnutrition.



CORDS Network Chairs' meeting Istanbul - Turkey,  4-5 March 2016 

Network chairs from SACIDS, EAIDSnet , MECID, SECID and APIER gathered in Istanbul 4-5 March 2016 for strategic planned and agreement on new cooperative cross-network ZIKA surveillance initiative.

Chairs got an update on CORDSNETWORK plans to support a new West African Disease surveillance network.
WHCA was giving communication support services and gathering Voices from the grounds from the Networks Chairs.


United against Infectious diseases for African-led capacity building 14-15 December 2015, Arusha (Tanzania)

Franklin Apfel joined Emma Orefuwa, Petra Dickmann and Nigel Lightfoot, from CORDSNETWORK, in facilitating a 2-day meeting, organised in collaboration with surveillance network partners EAIDSNet and SACIDS, which brought together front line stakeholders with policy makers and funders to look at ways to make epidemic response earlier, faster, smoother and smarter. New mobile phone disease surveillance apps, genomic testing devices and African led innovative approaches to community engagement were highlighted.

Press conference Arusha 13 December 2015

Arusha  Day ONE 14 December 2015

The two-day Stakeholder Event provided a platform for networks to learn from each other and a springboard for future collaborative activities in the region for enhancing African and African-led capacity building, for example a new West African Disease Surveillance Network.


THE PEP Symposium on reducing air pollution and noise emissions from transport, “Salle VIII”, Palais des Nations, Geneva 17 November 2015

The Symposium was organized before the Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, being held in Batumi (Georgia) on 8–10 June 2016. One of the two themes of that Conference is “Improving air quality for a better environment and human health”. The Symposium will be used to discuss in depth how the reduction of emissions of transport-related greenhouse gases and air pollutants can lead to a better environment and human health, reflecting the priority goal 3. The outcomes of the Symposium can then be reported to THE PEP Steering Committee, possibly to COP-21 and later to the Batumi Conference, among other forums. 

Dr Franklin Apfel moderated a round table discussion following a keynote speech by Prof Nino KÜNZLI (Deputy Director, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel) on the health burden of air pollution in Europe. The audience of the Symposium was made by THE PEP focal points from countries in the UNECE-WHO/Europe region, representing the transport, health and environment ministries. Participants from almost 30 different Member States and organizations are expected.

List of participants

[read more]


ALICE RAP Final Plenary Meeting & Pre-Conference Satellite Symposium, Lisbon, September 22, 2015 

 The ALICE RAP Final Plenary Meeting and Pre-Conference Satellite Symposium will draw together around 60 participants from a wide variety of research, clinical and policy backgrounds, and different scientific disciplines and geographical regions, to present and discuss the key preliminary findings of the 5-year ALICE RAP project (Addictions and Lifestyles in Contemporary Europe – Reframing Addictions Policy [read more]. 


 The MDG to SDG Journey! 

The Communication Initiative Network is a platform convening the communication and media for development community. Here is a thread of news and social media updates that include a variety of perspectives on the journey from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals. All intro and commentary text is my take only. Please submit through "Join the conversation", at bottom of this thread, any items that you wish to feature.


Annual Business and Technical Conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks, Kuopio, Finland - 24-26 June 2015

WHCA is supporting the WHO Regional Office for Europe during this annual Healthy City Network business meeting and conference in Kuopio. The movement represents one of the most enduring and thriving international public health initiatives. 

This is the first Annual Business and Technical Conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and the Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks in Phase VI. The WHO European Network consists of 98 cities. In addition, 30 national healthy cities networks in Europe have more than 1400 cities and towns as members. [read more]


Defeating Ebola and building up resilient health systems for a better future” - From Emergency to Development: Consolidating Efforts for a Sustainable Ebola Response towards Building Resilient Health Systems - Brussels, 4 June 2015


Background information

 This high level debate will be an opportunity to discuss the state of play of the Ebola outbreak and the global response, its medium and long-term societal implications for the most affected countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - and the role of the international community to ensure a sustainable recovery. It would also allow to discuss the conditions, resources and political commitments needed for global public health emergency response 

watch the video

 As a result of the debate, three main outcomes in terms of identification of actions, policy development, political commitment, and resources allocation resulting from the following question are expected: capacity and preparedness for future global epidemics.

Watch the video 
(# 5 on the page)

Outcome 1:

a) Which measures and policies need to be put in place or strengthened to build partnership for comprehensive emergency response in epidemics?

b) How to ensure global health preparedness at country level in implementing the International Health Regulations (2005)?

Outcome 2:

a) How to strengthen health systems fully involving communities’ participation around the principles of PHC and UHC?

b) How to re-establish the services, systems and infrastructure which have been devastated in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Outcome 3:

Which policies and commitments need to be in place to support research and development to respond to epidemics such as Ebola?




List of speakers:

 - Dr. Roberto Bertollini, WHO Representative to the EU, World Health Organization Office at the European Union

- Moderator: Dr. Franklin Apfel, Managing Director and Founding Partner, World Health Communications Associates.

 - Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO).

 - Mr Claus Sørensen, Director General, Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), European Commission.

- Dr. Joseph Caboré, Director for Programme Management, World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for Africa.

MEP Linda McAvan, Chair, European Parliament's International Development Committee.

- Dr. Victor Matt-Lebby, Director of Hospitals and Laboratories, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone.

- Ms Meinie Nicolai, President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Belgium and of MSF’s operational center in Brussels.

- Ms Rebecca Johnson, Nurse, Public Health Care Services, Sierra Leone; Ebola survivor and founder of Pink Cross, Sierra Leone.

- Ms Shakira Choonara, Future Leader, PhD Research Fellow, Centre for Health Policy (CHP), South Africa.

[read more]


WHEN 2015: Enhancing global health literacy
Towards the development of Regional Health Communication Networks
World Health Assembly 68 - Geneva, 17- 21 May 2015

Miatta Zenabu Gbanya, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Republic of Liberia is interviewed by journalists participating in the WHEN 2015.


The World Health Editors Network (WHEN) is an international and inter-disciplinary exchange and action platform for journalism and public health. WHEN is dedicated to strengthening journalism and public health communication capacity as public goods and key determinants of health.  WHEN development has been facilitated by the World Health Professional Alliance The World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) serves as secretariat to the WHEN.

Since 2007, the WHEN has convened journalists and other communicators at the World Health Assembly (WHA); helped them “enter the stadium” of this most important global health gathering; facilitated knowledge exchange and network building; and provided tools and training ( Over the past 2 years, in collaboration with CSDconsulting (Switzerland), The Newsminute(India) and Media Wise Trust (UK), WHEN has selected, sponsored, trained and mentored international journalism students attending the WHA (see

AIM of 2015 WHEN training

The aim of this year’s  training will be to raise journalist global health literacy; strengthen scientist - journalist communications; and explore the development of an African Regional Health Communication network that can enhance epidemic coverage and serve as watchdogs to monitor global health commitments.


The project will select and convene senior journalists at the WHA-68 for a training and mentoring experience that will introduce participants to this most important and underreported (!), global health arena, facilitate information gathering and catalyse relationship building with global health experts.  


WHCA partner agencies will solicit applications and recommend national and local journalists and other communicators for participation.



Journalist applicants should have:

  • 5 years experience in journalism and communication on national and/or local level;
  • Expressed interest in global health reporting- does not need be designated health reporter could be economics, trade, education, development etc. with interest in enhancing health angle of reports.
    • Extensive network of communicator contacts;
    • Excellent English language skills;
    • Agreement to work towards WHEN ethical guidelines 


All applicants are asked to provide:

  • a Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • a letter of interest,
  • writing sample and
  • a support letter from an editor or agency of intention to publish material produced as a result of participation.

A selection committee, including representatives of key partner agencies will review applications and select participants.

All training and mentoring activities are free of charge.
All participants completing the training will receive a certificate of attendance.Funds are available to cover the costs of a few selected participant journalists, especially from African countries.

For more information contact: Sabrina Cecconi, Programme Manager WHCA at [email protected]


Marking 25 years of the Healthy Cities movement
2014 International Healthy Cities Conference
Athens, Greece - 22–25 October 2014

WHCA is supporting the WHO Regional Office for Europe during this annual Healthy City Network business meeting and conference in Athens that marks 25 years of the European and global Healthy Cities movement. The movement represents one of the most enduring and thriving international public health initiatives.

This Conference offers the opportunity to celebrate and take stock of the collective achievements of Healthy Cities, which are based on the leadership and creativity of hundreds of cities across Europe and around the world. It provides ample opportunities for people to share stories and use narrative exchanges as a basis for reflecting, sharing and learning from a wealth of experiences and innovative solutions. Ultimately, the Conference offers a platform for political leaders, health professionals and activists to shape their visions for the future and to renew and reinvigorate their commitment to health, sustainable development and the Healthy Cities movement.

[follow the conference]


Workshop: Key Principles of Sustainable, Safe and Secure Laboratory Capacity Building
Chatham House - The Royal Institute of International Affairs 10 St James's Square, London 9-10 October 2014

Franklin Apfel was one of the facilitators during a two-day workshop on Key Principles of Sustainable, Safe and Secure Laboratory Capacity Building within phase II of the Chatham House project Safe and Secure Biomaterials. The workshop convened key stakeholders from engineering, science, policy and NGOs from low-, middle- and high-income countries together with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

[Chatham House website]


Pharma Anti-Counterfeiting 2014
Marriott Hotel Maida Vale, London, UK
23 -24 September 2014

Franklin Apfel will join a counterfeiting meeting and share a platform with Cyntia Genolet from Fight the Fakes. They will participate in the Morning Keynote Panel Discussion: Challenges and Opportunities and talk about campaigns and communications. The panel will discuss:

- How people and systems can protect themselves from counterfeits;

- How should organizations work together to combat the problem of counterfeiting;

- Combating the illegal sale or supply of medicines over the internet sales;

- Predicting and dealing with common pitfalls and challenges;

- Case study: learning from recent real-world examples.

Programme of the Conference


“We Love Eating” - PAU education project
Scientific board and city coordinator meeting
Barcelona, 16 June  2014

WHCA is working with PAU on its We Love Eating campaign. PAU is a company specializing in education and communication initiatives in the EU and beyond. Their projects are based on developing and sharing innovative knowledge, fostering creativity, building participatory frameworks, contributing to the quality of learning, enhancing understanding and multicultural skills, and partnering with research institutions. WHCA is focusing on working with “disadvantaged” populations.

Download the presentation


Second edition of the Media's pH Value's Global Health and Journalism Mentoring Initiative

WHEN meetings at WHA67, Geneva,  18-23 May 2014

A new mentoring approach

Media's pH Value's Global Health and Journalism Mentoring Initiative is a independent initiative which which aims to raise the health literacyof journalists and an awareness of their roles and responsibilities to raise health literacy of others.  The initiative explores the role of communications as a determinant of public health along-with epidemiology, law and economics.  The initiative provides on-going networking support. In this way the initiative aims to catalyse interest in global health reporting and strengthen global health communication. The initiative has already benefited from the active involvement of governments, civil society, the private sector and academia.
[more information] [WHA67 videos]

The unofficial Guide to the 67th WHA

[Dr Chan's Opening address]

[Read the young journalists' articles]


12-14 May 2014, Amsterdam

The 4th ALICE RAP General Partners' meeting was held in Amsterdam at the NH Barbizon Palace. Prins Hendrikkade, 59-72. WHCA supported the project communication work and chaired the media and communication advisory group.

Monday 12 May at 19.30 – 22:00 Open Political Debate on Cannabis Policy and Regulation, De Balie debate centre, Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, Amsterdam

Franz Trautmann led the organisation of a public debate between researchers, public health policy makers and politicians on cannabis policy. The discussion was led by high-level academics and political figures in the field, and took the 5th AR policy brief as its framework and starting point. Watch the debate in our Video series


Developing country capacity for the implementation of Health 2020: Briefing of consultants

8-9 January 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark WHO/UN City Auditorium I

Under contract to WHO, WHCA moderated and facilitated discussion among the participants through the use of examples based on different country scenarios with the aim of developing a common understanding of Health 2020 and the role of policy consultants in supporting countries develop and implement their policies.




Media’s pH Value, 9 September 2013, New Delhi, India

On September 9, 2013 a briefing (watch this space for location and time) will be held on tobacco industry activities worldwide and in India. The briefing will be followed by a tutorial on the role of media, advocacy and communications in public health with a special focus on tobacco control.


This initiative will be partnered by Newslaundry and Who’s There? Yes (WTY), a global journalism and health mentoring initiative launched by Chitra Subramaniam Duella (Switzerland) and Dr Franklin Apfel (United Kingdom). They are united by a mutual interest in understanding journalism and public health as public goods.

Read the press release

Media's pH value organisers Chitra Subramaniam, Abhinandan Sekhri and Franklin Apfel (taking picture) meet with Jeffrey Wigand ("the Insider") and Economic Times reporter Ullekh NP discuss meeting plans for Tobacco Control Workshop in New Delhi 9 September.



Let's talk about protection: an ECDC Action Guide to enhance childhood vaccination uptake.

WHCA has helped ECDC to  coordinate a group of experts to develop content for an Action Guide on childhood immunization and different vaccines, with a special focus on MMR vaccine, targeting health professionals, parents/grandparents, underserved/poorly served population and media. [download the Action Guide from ECDC website]

WHCA has also helped ECDC in the Adapatation and Translation of the Action Guide in 4 different countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

Download Romanian version here


New! Health Literacy - The solid facts  New!

This publication makes the case for policy action to strengthen health literacy. Evidence, including the results of the European Health Literacy. Survey, is presented that supports a wider and relational whole-of-society approach to health literacy that considers both an individual’s level of health literacy and the complexities of the contexts within which people act. The data from the European Health Literacy Survey show that nearly half the Europeans surveyed have inadequate or problematic health literacy. Weak health literacy skills are associated with riskier behaviour, poorer health, less self-management and more hospitalization and costs. Strengthening health literacy has been shown to build individual and community resilience, help address health inequities and improve health and well-being. Practical and effective ways public health and other sectoral authorities and advocates can take action to strengthen health literacy in a variety of settings are identified. Specific evidence is presented for educational settings, workplaces, marketplaces, health systems, new and traditional media and political arenas.

Download the book


EU Summit on Active and Healthy Ageing: An Action Agenda for European Cities and Communities
In association with the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU
Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, Ireland - June 13-14, 2013