The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) of the John Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programs in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) in Sierra Leone have started a four day workshop on Creative Campaign Design on Reproductive, Neonatal, Maternal and Child Health (RMNCH) at the Leone Lodge Hotel in Freetown. The workshop began on Monday 14th March and will end on Thursday 17th March, 2016.
The purpose of the workshop was for CSOs to contribute in the development of a national multimedia campaign that would contribute to the MoHS’ goal to use social behavioral change communication to increase demand and uptake for Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Services in Sierra Leone.
Participants were drawn from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation through the Health Education Division, FOCUS 1000, Goal Sierra Leone; Search for Common Ground ‘Talking Drums Studio’; Restless Development; District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) representatives from Bombali, Port Loko, Tonkolili and W estern Area Rural and Urban; Marie Stopes etc.
In given the welcome statement, the Country Director of HC3 Chime Mukwakwa expressed delight for participants to leave their busy schedules to attend the workshop. The participants would contribute to the development of behavioral change communication messages to improve peoples’ knowledge, attitudes and practices to demand for quality reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health services in Sierra Leone.
The Country Director said HC3 project has been in the country since July 2015. The government introduction of the Service Level Agreement took them long time to start their activities.
“Among the critical national level activities that we are going to implement in this project is the creative campaign. Why is it critical? As a project, our focus is reproductive maternal, neonatal and child health, and right now the President has declared that the high maternal mortality rate is a public health concern in the country. It should be treated with urgent and seriousness as we treated Ebola. It’s not business as usual”, says Chime.
She continued to express that HC3 would be implanting other activities in five focused districts i.e. Bombali, Port Loko, Tonkolili, Western Rural and Urban around social behavioral change communication. “This meeting outcome is for participants to bring out something that will be well accepted and appreciated by the Government and other health implementing partners at national and community level that would benefit the over 6 million people in Sierra Leone” said Madam Mukwakwa. She implored on participants to do a quality job as something that will last for a long time that people can always make reference to.
HC3 has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and other partners with funds from USAID.
The soft-spoken HC3 Country Director called on participants to give their best and come out with something that would realised the purpose of the work shop.
James King from the Health Education Division told participants that the workshop would be participatory as the Health Education Division would continue to provide HC3 all the technical support in making their campaign a success in Sierra Leone.
Participants during this workshop will be introduced to a wide range of topics from seasoned facilitators from KYNE and HC3 on learning about the background of HC3 RMNCH program and resources/themes from the radio design process; Enable them understand the priority audiences and character profiles, barriers and facilitators of the project, reflect on various campaigns in Sierra Leone and discussed on what worked and what didn’t. Participants at the end of the workshop will have learnt about the health situation in Sierra Leone. They will be placed into group works to do thorough review of factsheets, identify behaviors and identify key barriers and facilitators to the behaviors. Participants knowledge on creativity in developing communication will be broaden, they will learn about audience analysis, character profiles, barriers and facilitators-consider cultural beliefs, traditional practices, family-related factors, health-facility factors, audience aspirations and priorities; They would learn about what campaign slogan will motivate people, introduction to massage guide and more.
The ultimate aim of this national multimedia campaign is to enable families, children, under five couples, community leaders, community action group to:
• Articulate key RMNCH practices for healthy behaviors
• Feel confident they can practice the key RMNCH behaviors
• Demonstrate trust and confident in quality RMNCH services by:
I. Using them
II. Encouraging others to use them
• Being involved in efforts to ensure the services are of high quality
• Advocate with others to practice key RMNCH behaviors
By Sallieu Sesay