COVID: FG promotes commitment to adopted behavioural change
The Federal Government has highlighted the necessity for continuous commitment to behavioural change to preserve the effective containment of the COVID-19 epidemic in the nation.
Dr Boladale Alonge, the Director, of the Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), made
the call on Monday in Abuja, during the close-out ceremony of the Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC 2) initiative.
Alonge added that irrespective of the health situation of the public, health hygiene norms were always vital.
She also remarked that it was extremely vital to have individuals vaccinated and immunised.
“In many countries of the world, the third booster dose of COVID-19 is also on and being given to the populace so I want us as much as possible to sustain the behavioural changes and ethics of being in a large group.
“If you want to sneeze, you can still sustain the behavioural change pattern that you learnt throughout the COVID-19 period.
“In fact in some countries of the world, they use face masks throughout the year I wouldn’t say that we should, but if it is necessary, especially if someone has a cold, you can use your face mask to prevent other people from getting infected.
“So definitely we will continue to roll out other necessary health promotional posters and information that we need the public to adhere to because there are other infections that are ongoing throughout the year.”
While talking about the initiative, the director stated that it was done in partnership with FMOH and Population Services International Nigeria (PSIN), and was largely about health promotion activities and packages, particularly during the COVID-19 time.
According to her, it was a really significant partnership employed in producing messaging on the essential guidelines to avoid infection.
Director, of the Health Promotion Division, FMOH, Dr Ladidi Bako-Aiyegbusi, stated that from all indicators, the country was certainly winning the war against the COVID-19 epidemic.
This, she explained, was because individuals are being urged to adhere to all the preventative measures and they are complying.
She, however, stated that the HBCC 2 project (The Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition) assisted FMOH to distribute preventative messages against COVID-19 to Oyo, Osun, Kano, Nasarawa, Lagos states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
She noted that materials were prepared in English, Yoruba, and Hausa languages while radio and TV jingles were also made in the three languages, ensuring that established processes for health communication material production were adhered to.
“Though it focuses on five states and the FCT, we are using the messages in all the 36 states of the federation because everybody needs to get the message of COVID-19.
“So we, first of all, had the session meeting in April 2022. Then we held a three-day stakeholder gathering where we brought the current resources on COVID-19 prevention to the table.
“Then we looked at the mandates of the projects and reviewed the existing materials. We displayed the materials to people inside the community and asked them to look at the ideas to assess whether they were simple to comprehend.
The issue is “Are they in line with cultural norms so that by the time they are using the materials for the campaign, it will not be rejected?”
Bako-Aiyegbusi, however, stated that the close-out event for the one-year initiative aimed to encourage the implementers at the state levels to narrate their experiences, problems and accomplishments and make comments regarding them.
The Head of Programmes, PSIN, Dr Fatima Bunza, stated “Now that the project is closing out, by virtue of the way the project was implemented, quite a number of resources were generated in partnership with the FMOH and these resources have been archived by the government at all levels.
“In addition, health promotion officers and public health officers at the state ministries of health were all part of this intervention and this will form resources for state intervention.
“Also, a virtual library has been established with all the resources for future reference by the government and other partners and by the communities.”
Dr Isiaka Adekunle, the Director, of Health Planning Research and Statistics, at Osun state Ministry of Health, noted that the scheme has aided the state in planning for pandemics.
This, he added, was because looking at the scenario all around, one of the primary keys in the treatment of illnesses, whether COVID-19 or other communicable diseases, is health promotion activities.
“So health promotion is important and concerning this particular project in Osun, it was implemented to the letter and our own way forward is how we can own the project for sustainability.
“This is so that we will no longer be depending on the activities of partners even though we know that when the partner comes with their activity it will just be an addition to what we already have on the ground in terms of health promotion activities.”
The media says that the initiative, which started in April 2022, will be finished on Friday.