The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has concluded a three day workshop on Health Promotion Strategy Policy at Shangri La Multi-Purpose Hall on Lumley Beach road in Freetown. The workshop commenced from the 17th May and ended on the 19th May, 2016.
It can be recalled that during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, it became apparent that health promotion was critical to contain the spread of the virus. As the outbreak has taught the country a lot of lessons, the Health Education Division (HED) Ministry of Health and Sanitation found it prudent to call on health partners to put together a framework that would guide the management, coordination and integration of health promotion in Sierra Leone with a focus on preventing risk factors for communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Participants during the workshop reviewed the current status of health promotion in terms of management, coordination and guidance; where it should be strengthened and what needs to be included in the new strategy for better results.
Several activities discussed during the workshop through plenary sessions and group work making a case for strengthening health promotion in Sierra Leone. Participants looked at what structures exist to promote health issues by mapping the health promotion coordination and reporting structures at national, district and community levels. During these sessions, they paid priority on different audience approach for health promotion and a consensus on models for health promotion implementation that can be applied.
In order to support the Ministry of Health and Sanitation Health Education Division to harmonise health promotion education in the country, the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) Project had had consultative meetings with several players such as: UN agencies, WHO, NGO partners including FOCUS 1000 to get their inputs on how to strengthening health promotion messages in the small West African Country.
Giving an overview on HC3 consultation for health promotion strategy policy, Catherine Chime Mkwakwa Country Director HC3 said, Sierra Leone is a country that should be used as an example for health promotion either as an individual, family, community or country. She revealled that HC3 will not only work closely with the Health Education Division to develop the strategy plan on health promotion, but would place health promotion on HC3’s collaborative activities.
Programme Manager Health Education Division (HED) Mr Lansana Conteh expressed profound thanks and appreciation to all partners for their active intervention during the Ebola outbreak. He continued to say it was because of partners’ collaborative intervention that the Health Education Division succeeded in message dissemination and prevention of Ebola Virus Disease. Mr Conteh further emphasized that health promotion is a key priority in the division and it can be achieved through collaboration and partnership with all partners working on health development in the country. He assured partners that this policy document will be used effectively and efficiently towards the promotion of health issues.
The three day workshop attracted the attendance of Government ministry partners, WHO, relevant UN Agencies, donors and NGOs.
It’s worth sharing that the Health Education Division (HED) is part of the Directorate of Primary Health Care of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) and is the recognised lead for health promotion and Social and Behaviour Communication Change activities in the country.
By: Bridget Lewis
Communication Officer FOCUS 1000