Home World Dr Emmanuel Badu: Communicating Ghana’s Covid-19 response: Reflecting on best exercise

Dr Emmanuel Badu: Communicating Ghana’s Covid-19 response: Reflecting on best exercise


Ghana continues to show leadership in our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Our general public health team with the aid of the full nation, bar the few flouting the social distancing rules, have rapidly scaled up testing, get in touch with tracing and circumstance management within the persistent financial and source constraints. The bold selection to shut our borders and to quarantine each individual citizen returning house in amenities thoroughly funded by the government is significantly commendable. Many designed countries have avoided necessary quarantines since of cost and have resorted to voluntary self-isolation of their returnees. 

An crucial feature of our COVID-19 response has been the schedule updates by our governing administration and public officials as a result of the Information Ministry’s “Ministers Push Briefing on COVID-19”. These periods like the president’s national updates have been given commendations as it has criticisms. A few have questioned the government’s positive messaging or framing approach and have sought to encouragethe governing administration to use a bit of “fear” or “emotive” messaging to drum home the severity of the sickness. I want to toss a warning listed here. Historical past has revealed that using fear to elicit desired public action can from time to time be counter-successful specifically for diseases that tend to continue to be with us for extended than we might have expected. A scenario in position is the HIV/AIDS pandemic and Ebola outbreak. Although fear could thrust folks to undertake the general public health and fitness motion rapidly, it can make stigma above time. We at this time are observing the manifestation of stigma in our societies as reported in our online portals. Men and women are averting individuals who are known or suspected to have the ailment out of panic of receiving the ailment and dying from it. 

I do agree that this is not the time for specific heroic endeavours,as the scale of our reaction calls for collective motion and assist. Even so, to build public trust and successfully realize the interaction objective of persons adopting the advisable community well being behaviours, we will need to have a “face” for our nationwide response. In that regard, I feel there are two factors of our communication that involves fast overview and action – the messengers who produce our essential messages and the timing (frequency) of the messages. 

Very first, I submit that the director normal (DG) of the Ghana Overall health Solutions must be the confront of our response: the one source of real truth. In his absence could be the Director of Community Well being of the wellness provider. Since wellbeing is the overriding rationale for these media periods, we should start out every session with the DGs report. His presentation will present the up-to-day data on cases, traits, and respond to ongoing misinformation or rumours along with a apparent sense of direction for the overall overall health system’s reaction. 

Secondly, we are rapidly studying that a whole nation’sresponse to COVID-19 is not just a well being sector reaction, but equally an economic one. COVID-19 is threatening economies and wiping out employment. The affect of poverty on people’s health and fitness could be as dangerous as the disorder alone, if not even even worse. The much more cause we require to listen to from our governing administration officials. Even so, the current tactic in which we have much more than two ministers and community officials from other sectors speaking to the government’s economic response in a day can be overwhelming to listeners. At worst, this produces confusion and blurs the lines amongst a factual presentation aimed at informing the public and the usual politicking where the intention is to win public sympathies. A greater approach is to have one governing administration official a day. This could be the president or just one of his delegated authorities for example the vice president, the finance minister or any other minister as acceptable. The president’s intermittent national addresses could stop and merge into these each day briefings. Having the president talk at these classes reassures the citizenry of how significant this is to the authorities, features journalists the prospect to interrogate our response and demonstrates transparency and accountability to the community. 

3rd, is the timing and/or frequency of the media stand up periods. Frequent and steady updates is the cornerstone of a productive danger communication system. The existing twice a 7 days update seems to be creating an info hole, which allows mis/disinformation to fester. For instance, the recent releases of the “high” number of new confirmed cases has created unnecessary worry in just our communities. If briefings were being held day-to-day the figures would be fewer dramaticand a lot easier for the average person to make sense of how the illness is spreading. Giving the speedily evolving nature of our response and the thirst for correct info, can we revert to day by day briefings with just two speakers – the President or his agent and the DG or his consultant? These daily sessions could be 30 minutes extensive with a 15 to 25 minutes issue time. Sessions are held at the exact time every working day of the 7 days, for example at 10am each day. Reducing the number of speakers to two will make these classes shorter, additional easy to the position and sustain listeners interest in these briefings. 

Possibility interaction beholds community officers to engender the trust of their communities. That, at all moments, officials will have to be clear, candid and talk with self-confidence to encourage action. Making the well being presentation the focus of these media briefings will nurture public have faith in in our community health officials and ultimately lead to the ideal well being results. When carried out nicely these briefings will turn out to be, as expected, the single most vital source of COVID-19 similar information and facts. One that the complete country will appear up to, flocking to our tv, radio or online portals at 10am daily for correct, reliable and trusted information on how our pricey country is winning the fight from the pandemic. 

The writer is a General public Wellness Expert who lives and works in New Zealand.

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