Over 10,000 households in Honiara have been reached with Covid-19 information through house to house awareness programs.
Led by Honiara City Council’s (HCC) Health Promotion Division with oversight from the Ministry of Health and Medical Service’s (MHMS) National Health Promotion Division, the awareness program commenced in March and concluded on Friday 15th of May.
The awareness was an important mode for disseminating key Covid-19 prevention messages and information about the virus to ensure opportunities for health workers to clarify concerns, doubts and misunderstandings by the public on the, nature, transmissions and prevention of Covid-19.
Oliver Oli, Head of HCC Health Promotion division explained that although the activity was time consuming, requiring substantial number of workers and costly, it was necessary.
“Because of the nature of how the virus transmits we had to undertake this mode of communication and shift from more cost effective and time efficient methods such as community awareness to uphold and reinforce social distancing messaging, a key Covid-19 preventative measure”, explained Mr. Oli.
He also highlighted that the house to house visit was indeed useful and worth the effort.
“We had the opportunity to really sit down and discuss the nature of the virus, how it spread and the prevention measures using brochures and pamphlets but more importantly answering questions from the public which they found to be very helpful”, said Mr. Oli.
The National Risk Communication Plan and Strategy is developed by the MHMS’s health promotion and serves as a guide for provincial including HCC’s health promotion teams to tailor to their context to ensure effectiveness and relevance.
Other awareness activities implemented since February included radio spots, radio talk shows and radio health programs on Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation (SIBC), dissemination of Covid-19 information and key preventative messages during Sunday church service announcements, training of volunteers, SMS messages through both network our Telekom and bmobile, distribution of covid-19 educational materials to all provinces and presentations to other government ministries, organizations and private firms on Covid19.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Mrs. Pauline McNeil acknowledged the completion of the awareness program in Honiara stating that now with the knowledge of Covid-19, everyone must take the responsibility to continue to share the information to other family members, relatives and friends as much as possible and more importantly continue practicing them in and outside of their homes.
“The time to act is now; we must not wait until we have a first case of Covid-19 in Solomon Islands. This is not a one man’s job, not the responsibility of MHMS alone, but all of us, families, communities, churches and so forth. Preventing entry and outbreak of Covid-19 very much depend on our commitment and cooperation in the fight against this virus”.
Mrs. McNeil also acknowledged the support of donors and development partners for their technical and financial support towards planning and implementation of the national risk communication plan currently being implemented across the country.
“I thank our donors and development partners for your ongoing support especially with health promotion activities, the technical, financial and material support injected into this initiative have enabled us to implement this house to house activity successfully”, stated Mrs. McNeil.
Organizations providing support to MHMS Covid-19 awareness includes WHO, UNICEF, World Vision, Solomon Islands Red Cross, Oxfam, Save the Children, Plan International and Live and Learn.
Almost all provincial health promotion teams have also completed their Covid-19 awareness programs.
MHMS advises the public especially those who might have missed the house to house awareness program to listen out to the daily health promotion program on SIBC every week days at 6:45pm, MHMS website https://solomons.gov.sb/ to view important Covid-19 information and prevention messages or simply call 115, or 25256.
Source: MHMS Media Release