Islands participated in Health Communication workshop

Participants to the workshop on Health Communication, hosted by the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), on June 26-27 in Curaçao. Photo: Saba Government.

The Bottom, Saba- Participants from Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba recently took part in a workshop held in Curaçao about Health Communication, organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The participants from the BES-islands joined other representatives from Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. In total there were 20 participants from the Dutch Caribbean islands.

The event sought to strengthen the capacities of the leaders of the communication departments of the Ministries of Health to design effective strategies to promote health and disease prevention.

The inauguration of the workshop was attended by the Minister of Health, Environment and Nature of Curacao, Suzanne Camelia-Römer, who highlighted the relevance of information and health promotion for the empowerment of people with regard to their own health. Camelia-Römer expressed her confidence that health education, effective communication and community participation in disease prevention will result in a healthier population.

Additionally, José Moya, PAHO/WHO Representative for Venezuela, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten and the Island Territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, welcomed the health authorities and other people attending the activity, which was held under the agreements signed by PAHO/WHO and the island territories during the planning meeting held in Caracas in February of this year. Further, Moya highlighted the importance of adequately communicating health issues to the population. “Communication should be concise and timely, and should lead to changes in people’s health,” he said.

During the workshop, Leticia Linn, PAHO/WHO Advisor for Media and Public Information, explained the basic principles of communication, the communication campaign development tools, the importance of communication plans, the steps and elements which should be included in planning, the definition of target audiences and the strategies for each audience. Special emphasis was placed on the Single Overarching Communications Outcome (SOCO). Likewise, tools were provided for risk communication and training of the spokespersons who interact with the media.

At the end of the workshop on Health Communication, the representatives of the Ministries of Health of the Netherlands Antilles, supported by Sabina Rodríguez, the PAHO/WHO Communication Advisor for Venezuela, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten and the Island Territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, agreed on the creation of a working network, through which they are joining efforts to seek health promotion and prevention of common problems such as the increase in obesity.

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