About WHO

WHO Strategic Communications Framework for Effective Communications

Effective, integrated and coordinated communication is integral to carrying out WHO’s goal to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. WHO has made a significant investment to meet the growing need for information, advice and guidance, from increasing capacity to improved integration of available communications channels including media relations, social and online communications, branding, visual communications, and health and emergency risk communications.

This Framework describes WHO’s strategic approach for effectively communicating WHO information, advice and guidance across a broad range of health issues. Six core principles for effective practice ensure that the WHO communications are accessible, actionable, credible and trusted, relevant, timely and understandable.

WHO Communications Strategic Framework chart

The Framework is not designed to focus on a particular channel, disease, health observance, or geographic area. Instead, the six principles and tactics to achieve them can be used by communicators as resources to develop a range of effective and specific regional, disease-focused, or events-based strategies.

WHO strives at all times to ensure these principles are at the core of its communication activities and are reflected in the full range of materials and activities: social media messages; web-based fact sheets, feature stories, commentaries, infographics, Q&As; intranet content for WHO staff; press conferences, news releases and media advisories; videos; visibility and outreach activities etc.

WHO’s communications goal as articulated in the Framework

Although techniques, audiences, and channels for WHO’s communication products and activities differ, they all have the same goal: to provide information, advice, and guidance to decision-makers (key audiences) to prompt action that will protect the health of individuals, families, communities and nations.

All WHO communicators across all offices are committed to making sure that WHO’s information, advice, and guidance effectively reaches key audiences to protect the health of individuals, families, communities and nations.

Audiences as health decision-makers

The Framework focuses on communicating to and with key audiences – the agents who use WHO communications products to make a range of health decisions:

  • individuals who make decisions about their own health and that of their families,
  • health care providers who make decisions about screening, diagnostics, treatment, and recommendations for patients,
  • policy-makers at national and subnational levels with responsibility for their residents' health,
  • communities who make decisions about shared space, activities, and services with health consequences,
  • international organizations and stakeholders who make decisions about funding and implementing health programmes,
  • WHO staff who make decisions about programmes, coordination, human and financial resources, and how they speak to external partners and colleagues about WHO.