The CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine is at the forefront of the U.S. response to the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa working in close collaboration with other federal and state agencies.
A core component of the response is the development and deployment of clear and effective risk communication to assist travelers from West Africa with participation in daily active monitoring and early reporting of symptoms for 21 days after their arrival in the United States.
The goal is to increase basic knowledge of Ebola, self-efficacy, and motivation for active monitoring, increase trust in the US public health system, and decrease Ebola stigma.
CDC has developed traveler information materials for use in countries with Ebola outbreaks during exit screening as well as for travelers to review upon arrival to the United States during entry screening.
In addition to posters and banners, the materials include Check and Report Ebola (CARE) Kits. These kits for travelers include informative materials and tools to use for monitoring, including a thermometer, and a phone system and opt-in text message reminder prompts.
However, CDC needs to better understand this specific traveler audience, assess the utility of developed messages and materials (prior to travel and after arrival) on various dimensions, including traveler comprehension of risk messages, traveler perception of the messages and materials, utilization of social support, and traveler intentions and behaviors around monitoring and reporting of symptoms after travel.
The CDC this week awarded a contract to non-profit organization RTI International to support these efforts. The work will include the refinement of materials to communicate key messages and development of supplemental tools to enhance effectiveness.
In addition to the already developed communications tools, CDC is also conceiving additional interventions to enhance the traveler entry screening experience and increase initial uptake and participation in active monitoring for the full 21 day period. These may include educational videos, trained social workers who can orient travelers to the active monitoring program, and other potential interventions.
“RTI’s experience in working with the CDC on mass media effect, evaluation design, campaign measurement and evaluation, health service research, and interventions to promote health behavior change makes them uniquely positioned to assist the CDC in designing and implementing its evaluation of the response to the recent Ebola outbreak,” states the announcement.
RTI previously partnered with CDC on development of the Clear Communication Index, as well as various HIV-related communication and education projects which carry similar challenges regarding stigma and behavior change as Ebola.
The estimated value of the contract is $1,500,000 with a period of performance from date of award through June 2016.