Using and Adapting Resources from The Zika Communication Network

By Lisa Mwaikambo, MPH | Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
25 Jan 2017
ZCN Social Media Image

Learning from the Ebola outbreak, the public health community galvanized in early 2016 to address and coordinate around Zika response efforts. Consistent and accurate communication is critical in the face of a health emergency – especially when there are unknowns and no readily available vaccine or cure. People need information: They need updates on the response, and perhaps more importantly, a set of actions they can take to protect themselves, their families, and communities.

The Zika Communication Network (ZCN) strives to do just this by connecting responders with state-of-the-art strategic social and behavior change communication (SBCC) materials and tools that can readily be used or adapted to a particular context and response plan. Today, the ZCN contains more than 280 resources from clinical guidelines and job aids for health care providers to community-level SBCC materials, such as posters, flip charts, radio spots and videos, and more. Of the 280+ resources, more than 180 are available in languages other than English.

Having a curated repository is a great starting point; however, it’s meaningless if resources are not used and/or adapted to meet a target audience’s specific needs as well as the response of a particular country. Often, times resources may need to be adapted to make them culturally and context appropriate, so that people not only comprehend but are able to take preventative actions. “Adaptation is the process of using existing content to create content that is relevant and accessible (digitally or otherwise) in a given context. Adaptation is both evidence based and innovative—taking content proven in one context and applying them in another” (Lee et al. 2016).

If you find something that would be useful for your country response, you can do the following without requesting permission:

  • Download the files that are specifically offered in downloadable format (usually, .pdf, Word, or PowerPoint)
  • Print pages and downloaded files from the website
  • Use text from posted blogs with attribution
  • Link to ZCN and its contents

Some materials, such as the job aids provided in the annexes of the Providing Family Planning Care for Non-Pregnant Women and Men of Reproductive Age in the Context of Zika: A Toolkit for Healthcare Providers produced by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Population Affairs, clearly state that you can adapt them and even include suggestions for where you can place your organization’s logo and attribution. Here’s an example.

Other materials do not provide explicit permission for adaptation. In those cases – where you would like to reproduce and make changes to the materials (whether related to text or images), please email and we will request permission from the producing organization on your behalf.

For more guidance on how to adapt communication materials and learning content, see The Art of Adaptation When Adapting Communication Materials in a Hurry and Making Content Meaningful: A Guide to Adapting Existing Global Health Content for Different Audiences.

Lisa Mwaikambo, MPH
Lisa Mwaikambo, MPH
Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

Lisa has over ten years of experience working on USAID-funded and privately-funded family planning (FP) and reproductive health (RH) and HIV/AIDS projects. Lisa is a certified Knowledge Manager and has a Master of Public Health from Case Western Reserve University and a BA from the College of Wooster. She is currently based in North Carolina.

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