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23 Feb 2017

A literature #review on #community and #institutional #emergency #preparedness #synergies (@ECDC_EU, summary)


Title: A literature #review on #community and #institutional #emergency #preparedness #synergies.

Subject: Emergency Preparedness, literature review.

Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), full PDF file: (LINK). Summary.

Code: [     ]


A literature review on community and institutional emergency preparedness synergies


This report was commissioned by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), coordinated by Judit Takács, and produced by Bazian Ltd. Authors

Bazian authors: Anna Ramsbottom, Elly O’Brien; ECDC authors: Massimo Ciotti, Judit Takács.


ECDC would like to thank the Bazian team: Alan Lovell, Katie Geary and Rob Cook for literature searches, expert advice and reviewing document drafts. Lucrezio Ciotti contributed substantially to the project design and provided detailed comments on document drafts. At ECDC Andrea Würz provided detailed comments on document drafts.

Suggested citation: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. A literature review on community and institutional emergency preparedness synergies. Stockholm: ECDC; 2017.

Stockholm, February 2017

PDF ISBN 978-92-9498-036-6 / doi: 10.2900/2499 / Catalogue number TQ-02-17-227-EN-N

© European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 2017 Reproduction is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged


Executive summary

  • Background
    • Public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) too often focuses on institutional capabilities alone, including the provision of material and financial resources, technical expertise and political influence [1], while overlooking community capabilities.
    • Community capabilities may involve coordination with emergency management, public health institutions, community and faith-based partners and other groups to provide and sustain a flexible approach to emergency response and recovery, without jeopardising services to individuals in the community [2].
    • However, the success of institutional preparedness plans depends upon acceptance by the public to  ensure that the execution of the plans is complete and successful in preparedness at community-level and promoting recovery.
    • Broader community engagement is therefore recommended worldwide.
    • Community engagement has the potential to be an enabler and/or a barrier to preparedness depending on how it is handled and constructed.
    • The synergies between institutions and communities will influence the effectiveness of engagement programmes, which comprise a plan of activities and events involving the community [3].
    • This literature review aims to identify the enablers and barriers to communities and institutions working together in the context of emergency preparedness. 
  • Methods
    • A literature review was carried out to identify enablers and barriers to community and institutional synergies in emergency preparedness.
    • Searches were undertaken across bibliographic databases and grey literature sources.
    • There were no restrictions on country or study type, to incorporate a comprehensive range of contexts.
    • The literature identified was qualitative in nature.
    • A qualitative, ‘best fit’ framework approach using a pre-existing framework was used to analyse the literature, whereby themes were added and changed as analysis progressed.  
  • Results
    • A working definition of community was identified, based on a ‘whole community’ approach, described as a process rather than a fixed definition, inclusive of the whole multitude of stakeholders including community residents, leaders, emergency management staff and government workers.
    • Three main themes were identified relating to enablers and barriers of community and institutional synergies in emergency preparedness: context, infrastructure and process.
    • These were extracted from the pre-existing framework.
    • Important factors identified included the trust communities place in institutions and technical experts, as well as the existing relationships between community groups.
    • Another finding was that emergency preparedness initiatives can be incorporated into already embedded networks and practices, which is shown to be more effective than trying to create new ones, using the lever of trust to enhance success.
    • Moreover, it was found that community ownership should be the ultimate aim in engagement techniques, with all community members acknowledging they have a role to play in emergency preparedness.
    • The literature indicates that groups who are vulnerable (for a variety of reasons) will need particular attention when engaging in emergency preparedness to ensure they gain information in the most impactful way, and their voices are heard and responded to.
  • Conclusion
    • In this project, a definition of community that encompassed the ‘whole community’ approach was used.
    • This definition will be useful in the context of community and institutional synergies in emergency preparedness, as it is dynamic and inclusive.
    • It includes the full spectrum of stakeholders including community residents, as well as a ‘community of communities’, allowing for a more detailed understanding of the whole community.
    • The most effective way of engaging communities in emergency preparedness depends on the context.
    • Given the diversity in community make-up, the types of emergencies that could be faced, the socio-economic, environmental and political range of communities, there are no set practices to follow that will be effective for all communities.
    • However, to be successful, engagement should be meaningful and take into account the views of community members.
    • Special attention is required to include hard-to-reach groups and those who may not already have a voice in the community.



Keywords: ECDC; Updates; Disaster Preparedness; Pandemic Preparedness.