Risk Communication in the Fight Against Cholera Outbreak

The Case of Amhara National Regional State Health Bureau in Ethiopia

  • Adem Chanie Ali Bahir Dar University
  • Tsegaye Yeshewas Hailu IRC WAS Ethopia
Keywords: Risk communication, cholera, health communication, Amhara region, Ethiopia


In developing countries such as Ethiopia the outbreaks of pressing health problems (epidemics) has posed significant challenges. Unable to properly communicate during such risks results in countries paying social, economic and political costs. This study tries to understand the risk communication practice of Amhara National Regional State Health Bureau (referred to below as the Bureau) during the outbreaks of AWD (Acute Watery Diarrheal Disease)/Cholera in 2016. The study employed qualitative research method using focus group discussion, in-depth interview and document analysis as data gathering tools.  The findings show that the Bureau for the most part did not employ risk communication on the basis of its basic principles. The Bureau does not clearly understand the very idea of risk communication and has been found to have no risk plan at all before the prevalence of the pandemic. The Bureau has been found to have no organised means to collect feedback from the audience. In addition, there is no proper evaluation and analysis of feedback coupled with lack of honesty during the process. What is more, the recovery phase was found to have not been communicated properly. To be effective, the Bureau is advised to apply risk communication as an important weapon in the fight against cholera epidemic.

Author Biographies

Adem Chanie Ali, Bahir Dar University

Adem Chanie Ali (PhD) is Associate Professor of Communication in the Department of Journalism and Communications, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. He earned the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Communication, University of South Africa.  His areas of research emphasis is  communication/media for development and social change.

Tsegaye Yeshewas Hailu, IRC WAS Ethopia

Tsegaye Yeshiwas Hailu (MA) is a senior Journalsit in Amhara Mass Media Agency, Ethiopia. His research interst is health communication and crisis communication.

How to Cite
Ali, A., & Hailu, T. (2020). Risk Communication in the Fight Against Cholera Outbreak. The Journal of Development Communication, 31(1), 11-25. Retrieved from http://jdc.journals.unisel.edu.my/index.php/jdc/article/view/164