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Why Strategic Health Communication is essential – Minister

Lagos – The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole says strategic health communication is crucial to achieving positive social and behavioural change in the country.

Adewole, represented by Mrs Olayemi Sotomi, Director of ICT, Federal Ministry of Health, expressed the view at the 10th Anniversary of the Leadership in Strategic Health Communication Workshop, in Lagos on Wednesday.

The workshop, which also featured the graduation of some participants, was organised by the Centre for Communication programmes, Nigeria, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

It had the theme “Repositioning the Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) Toward the Attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’’.

Adewole said the theme was timely and strategically positioned, especially at a time, when there was a need to be creative and resourceful in addressing issues relating to improvement of people’s health and ultimately quality of life.

He said, “The Federal Ministry of Health appreciates the role of social and behaviour change communications in addressing negative social norms and encouraging the adoption of positive attitudes.

“These are all intended to make communities more competent and to take responsibilities for their health.

“We have seen examples of successful campaigns in Nigeria and beyond, and we have had research prove that communication does work.

“At the United Nations Sustainable Development meeting on the Sept. 25, 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

“This includes a set of 17 SDGs to end poverty, fight inequality, injustice and tackle climate change by 2030’’.

According to him, Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) plays a key role in the actualisation of these goals.

“This is by providing the platform to leverage on research, creativity and theory to design effective campaigns that have the power to address these health and social issues,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Benjamin Lozare, Director, Training and Capacity Building, School of Public health, USA, said the workshop was to broaden the scope of using strategic communication in health and other domains.

“Our focus should be on what needs to be done, rather than on apportioning blame for present problems.

“True communication must carry within it, the element of transformation”, he said.

In her remarks, Ms Babafunke Fagbemi, Executive Director, Centre for Communication Programmes, Nigeria, said the workshop cut across all fields.


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