The National Health Promotion Division of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services have commenced its provincial support to scale up provincial capacity for more strategic interventions and activities to yield and generate increased demand for health services and goods focused on preventative measures, such as COVID-19 vaccines.

Last week, National Health Promotion team, led by the Director Adriana Leamana were at Gizo, Western Province conducting Risk Communication (RC) training for health promotion officers for the province.

The training included, empowering provincial risk communication staff on how to manage public perceptions by using different risk communication strategies, outrage management, and crises communication, pre-advocacy and health education.

Training also cover identifying and addressing vaccine communication gaps and how to effectively lead communication activities to promote uptake of COVID-19 vaccine to different target audiences by age and underlying health conditions.

With work on engaging new volunteers to support promotion of vaccines, the training extended to inform of important COVID-19 vaccine messages to be used to effectively encourage public to come forward for vaccination and address fear and anxiety that is continues to influence vaccine hesitancy.

Mr Leamana highlighted that the training will be rolled out to all other provincial health promotion officers, their volunteers and communication partners at the provincial level so that resources can be mobilized easily for implementation of the RC activities.

“At the national level we will also be convening the National Communication Taskforce members which comprised of communication and health implementing partners such as the media, Non-Government Organizations, health technical agencies to see how we can best utilize limited resources and effectively roll out communication to support vaccine roll out nationwide”, stated Mr Leamana.

He explained that with the initial roll out that prioritizes certain groups to first receive the vaccines, communication activities have been limited to these prioritized groups, however now that it is open, communication activities will also expand in terms of its reach of audiences and extend to all relevant communication partners.

The training also highlighted issues experienced at the provincial level and how to disseminate timely accurate information to the general population to avoid uncertainty and unnecessary fear among general population.

This effort to strengthen provincial health promotion officer’s capacity to support vaccine roll out is being implemented alongside ongoing COVID-19 promoting communication activities, which includes radio spots on FM stations, bill and digital boards along the city, vaccine awareness and promotion at various organizations and private sector firms.

Health promotion will soon launch and roll out online campaign to further raise awareness and promote COVID-19 to internet and social media users as soon as all necessary preparations work is completed.

The Health Promotion Division of the Ministry of Health welcome organizations and communities to send through their requests for vaccine awareness and promotion at their organizations, offices and communities.

You can contact Health Promotion on 25205 to arrange for this.

Source: MHMS Media