Ghana: ECOWAS develops crisis communication, community mobilisation strategies on Ebola

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Regional experts in crisis communication and community mobilization have validated harmonized messages to be rolled out with strategic tools to engender massive community participation towards strengthening national and regional responses to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that has claimed more than 4,000 lives from the more than 8,000 cases reported in the ECOWAS region.

The behaviour change messages developed by an experts meeting last week in Accra, Ghana, and designed to sensitize and elicit appropriate actions from targeted audiences in the Ebola
affected and non-affected countries in West Africa, were reviewed and validated by an enlarged 9-11 October 2014 experts meeting also in the Ghanaian capital.

In addition, the meeting adopted appropriate channels for transmission of the messages,  strategies and approaches for effective engagement of various segments of communities in Ebola affected and non-affected countries.

The messages are crafted in simple, direct and action-oriented language to elicit maximum
impact and responses from the target audiences for the effective prevention, containment,
management and control of the deadly Ebola disease and at the same time addressing panic
and stigmatization.

Target audiences for the messages include the general public, opinion, traditional and
religious leaders, infected persons, their families, survivors, health workers, and border
communities.

Others are educational institutions, armed and security forces, the private sector,
hunters and bush meat sellers, traditional healers and birth attendants, nursing mothers,
mortuary attendants and the media.

The meeting also validated the Action Plan developed by the first experts’ meeting including
workshops for capacity building for the media and community mobilization actors, focused on
coordinated emergency communication response strategy, using multimedia messaging tools.

The capacity building/training will immediately be followed by aggressive engagement of the media and different segments of the population and the roll-out of the messages for
effective community mobilization and participation.

The communication and communication mobilization experts meeting, organized by the
ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with the West African Health Organization (WAHO), the
specialized agency of ECOWAS, was a follow-up to the ECOWAS Coordinating Ministerial Group Meeting for the implementation of the Regional Operational Plan on the fight against Ebola.

Its participants included health officials from the Ebola affected and non-affected countries,
representatives of WHO, UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor and the John Hopkins University Centre
for Communications.

Others were the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), the West African Network for
Peace building (WANEP), West Africa Democracy Radio, West African Civil Society Forum,
officials of the ECOWAS Commission and WAHO.
-0- PANA AR 12Oct2014

12 october 2014 13:53:51




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