The Communication Initiative Networks
convening the communication and media development, social and behaviour change community
From: Guillaume Bakadi Mukenge
Subject: C-19 – Community engagement, maintenance and extension
1. Stimulate community engagement by forging the connection between what communities have done in the past and the effects that change had on them. Actions taken by communities to stop the Ebola virus in several parts of DRC, for instance, is a good example of how community history can be used to demonstrate people’s capacities to solve their problems and improve health among community members. Rather than telling people not to panic, it is worth reminding them how their effort contributed to stop Ebola outbreak. Government partners including representatives from the Ministry of Health, opinion leaders, and NGOs should use mass media and other community events to stress out what community members did in the past and how they can contribute to stop the coronavirus pandemic. Praising people for their achievement in the past and making them feel they can reengage in any other challenge is a very strong motivation for them to be prepared and be involved in taking appropriate actions to slow and control the spread of the disease.
2. Maintain community engagement by connecting to all community assets and strengthen their capacities to influence people’s behaviors in adopting preventive and care management of COVID-19. The community assets to rely on are: community leaders, religious leaders, opinion leaders (music stars), youth leaders, community based organization leaders, community health workers, motorcycle leaders, social networks. They need to be fed up with accurate knowledge and skills to approach people and respond to their concerns. Avoid generic messages such as for instance asking people to be calm. Rather, dialogue with them to clarify how to avoid and take care of the disease. Providing feedback on the results of community effort is another approach to maintain community engagement. Health providers should be prepared to share data regularly collected in the health facilities demonstrating whether the situation is improving or deteriorating and required actions to be taken in both the health facility and in the community.
3. Strengthen the extension system by reinforcing contacts between health providers and community health workers. Health providers at different levels-national, prefecture, health zones, health centers, NGOs will build regular contacts with community health workers to share the latest information about the disease and how to tackle misinformation and other rumors. Doing so will give continual credibility to these extension agents by ensuring that community members are fed up with actual and complete information package. Community health workers will be useful as well in reinforcing the quarantine strategy recommending some people to stay at home in order to prevent the spreading of the disease.
Wednesday, March 13, 2020
Guillaume Bakadi Mukenge
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Mar 16 2020 – 5:45pm