Social Behavior Change Programming for Public Health Emergencies: Lessons Learned From the USAID Zika Response in Latin America and the Caribbean

This brief provides insights from the social and behavior change (SBC) line of effort during the 2016-2019 Zika response when USAID and its implementing partners collaborated closely with national health ministries and local stakeholders in Latin America and the Caribbean. It describes strengths, weaknesses, gaps, and challenges, and highlights seven key recommendations that future public health emergency responses should incorporate to safeguard the health and well-being of people around the world.

The seven recommendations are:

  1. Coordinate with SBC stakeholders at all levels early and often.
  2. Determine priority preventive behaviors through a participatory process with all stakeholders at the beginning of the response.
  3. Integrate SBC into other technical areas.
  4. Engage community members to develop context-appropriate solutions through participatory design methods.
  5. Identify and mobilize SBC expertise at all levels to ensure availability of skills to implement effective SBC programming.
  6. Prioritize formative research from the beginning of a response.
  7. Coordinate monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning activities.
Resource Type(s)
Communication Professionals
NGO Workers
Breakthrough RESEARCH
Population Council
Population Reference Bureau
U.S. Agency for International Development