Applying Lessons Learned from COVID-19 to the Monkeypox Response

Four people sitting around a conference table with paper and computers while strategizing


On June 23, the World Health Organization declared Monkeypox a global emergency; there have been more than 16,000 cases in 75 countries. 

The work that local governments, community-based organizations and health systems have done during the COVID-19 response to serve refugee, immigrant and migrant (RIM) communities will continue to be valuable as they plan their response to Monkeypox. Organizations can get ahead by ensuring their Contact Tracing and Case Investigation (CICT) practices meet the needs of people in RIM communities, and by embracing community partnerships.

Create Contact Tracing Campaigns

NRC-RIM built contact tracing campaigns in partnership with a community of farmworkers in Florida and a community of Congolese refugees and migrants in Texas. The campaigns have three themes:

  • Safety and Protection: ensure people have workarounds to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the absence of resources or infrastructure for contact tracing.
  • Awareness: build an understanding among people of what contact tracing is and is not, and what role it has in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Willingness to Participate: instill trust and confidence in the community that drives individuals to opt-in to participate in contact tracing.

Our guide, available online or as a PDF, helps organizations build custom communications campaigns to engage refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities in contact tracing efforts. Our drag-and-drop templates can easily be customized for Monkeypox. 

Ensure Language Access

For general information about creating culturally and linguistically relevant health education materials, review our translation process and the Cultural Validation and Translation Review toolkit. 

Review and share tips for working with interpreters during CICT, which are relevant for any illness, including Monkeypox. We also have a checklist of actions for health departments to consider when conducting CICT among RIM communities.

Check out our guide on translating and culturally adapting sexual orientation and gender identity CICT interview questions. Our more general glossary of terms for interpreters assisting with CICT is available in Arabic, Burmese, Dari, English, Nepali, Russian and Ukrainian

Seek Out Training

We have training available for contact tracers and those who work with them. Our on-demand training portfolio includes topics like how to work effectively with interpreters, stress and resilience for contact tracers and case investigators, social determinants of health, and more.

Embrace Community Partnerships

If you don’t already have community partnerships established, it isn’t too late. Learn how to identify community partners with our guide, or consider establishing a community advisory board.

Trusted messengers are important assets to both communities and health departments. Learn how organizations across the country have partnered with faith leaders, schools, consulates and others on their public health response. Community health workers will make particularly strong partners.