As part of efforts to improve public uptake of protective health behaviours, including reporting instance of high risk diseases outbreak and contributing to early detection of potential emergencies, a team of Breakthrough Action Staff, independent consultants and government partners have conducted a four-day training for journalist, Veterinarians and health practitioners across the country.
The training jointly sponsored by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the One Health Ministries, departments and agencies in Nigeria and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was held in Nasarawa State, was aimed at reviewing avoidable risk communication and One Health resources in Nigeria to promote awareness, engage communities and support public health emergency responses.
Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can spread between animal to human and can potentially spread from person to person such as brucellosis, rabies, Covid-19, and yellow fever among others.
According to the training manual, collaboration between One Health stakeholders, public health authorities, and the media is crucial to ensure accurate and life saving information reaches at-risk communities.
“Effective emergency and risk communication can help stem an infectious disease outbreak by influencing the personal and social behaviours that aid transmission.
“Effective community engagement can prevent an outbreak by informing people in high-risk areas about the nature of the disease and the steps they can take to protect themselves and their families,” the document revealed.
The training aim was to strengthen the capacity of the practitioners in applying best practices for risk communication and community engagement and in collaborating to raise awareness of risk and prevention of priority zoonotic diseases. It also reviewed priority zoonotic diseases in Nigeria and their relationship to public health emergency preparedness and response among others.