Health Ministry to adopt more people-centred health communication strategy
DPI, Guyana, Monday, May 7, 2018
The Ministry of Public Health and the Pan-American Health Organisaion/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) are working to re-draft the National Communication Strategic Plan for the health sector during a two-day consulting exercise at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston.
Communications Specialists, Kevin Cook and Leticia Linn from PAHO, Washington DC are spearheading the exercise.
The Ministry Public Health had drafted a National Communication Strategic Plan in 2012, but this was never implemented. Ministry officials have been seeking, since last year, to redraft and implement a plan that can provide vital health care information to the public.
Addressing the gathering at the opening of the consultation, Cook indicated that the importance of health communication has never been more of a priority as it is today. He highlighted PAHO’s strategy towards successful and effective health information and communication in the Americas.
“Well-formulated health communication, coupled with community engagement efforts was absolutely critical to saving lives.”
Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings said that the establishment of health literacy through health promotion is essential to realising positive public health outcomes.
“Health communication is an essential component of any public health programme. This vital component provides a vehicle for the transmission of messages to targeted audiences on a number of issues that can result in the creation of health awareness and the development of the embryonic stages of health literacy.”
Ministry of Public Health’s Public Relation Coordinator, Terrence Esseboom supported the need for redrafting the strategy. He pointed out that other ministries can miscommunicate and correct faults later, but the Ministry of Public Health can miscommunicate and cost lives.
Also, PAHO/WHO’s country representative to Guyana, Dr. William Adu-Krow said that effective communication is a prerequisite to bridge gaps that exist in communicating health information.
“Globally, whether we want to maintain and improve health, contain immediate public health crisis or respond appropriately, the messages we send and receive are critical to creating better health for us all.” Dr. Adu-Krow said.
The objectives of an effective health communication strategy is to provide health information by using understandable language; to provide methods that can be easily accessed by population; to enhance the ability of healthcare providers to interact with individuals and to develop a system for management and delivery of health materials developed.
By: Delicia Haynes.