Despite of the preventive measures applied by both the national and sub-national government, there is still mounting public anxiety over the effectiveness of adapting those measures, reliability of information that people received, and if concerned agencies have the necessary capacities and resources to address people’s specific needs and concerns.
With the unprecedented impact of COVID19, how do we engage at-risk communities, people in need and the affected population while not compromising the safety of various frontline staff especially the medical and humanitarian workers? How prepared are we in responding to the various information needs of the worried communities with this “new normal” conditions? How are we going to weather the uncertainty and make the necessary effort to put front and center the affected population as most urban cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) and rural-urban areas at the sub-national level are currently implementing intensified lockdown and enhanced community quarantine?
There are no easy answers and immediate resolutions to those questions. But various agencies and other organizations are working hand- in-hand with the government authorities to ensure priority lines of actions are in placed to support the affected communities. These include requiring a strong and coordinated risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) strategy that will help address uncertainty and varying COVID19 risk perception. People need inclusive access to right and adequate information not only about updates on the spread of COVID19, testing centers and other potential secondary impacts but on the overall government’s response and recovery plans that include support coming from other agencies.
The Department of Health (DOH) leads the health sector response, including strengthening of the RCCE measures. As one of the priority pillars in the overall COVID19 response plan, RCCE identifies various community engagement strategies to involve at-risk communities and affected populations in tailoring and improving the response and recovery, developing acceptable interventions to stop further spread of the disease, and ensuring that individuals and groups take protective measures.DOH needs feedback loop mechanism to understand better the varying concerns of the public. In this way, health authorities and officials can identify the necessary platforms to address them and adapt mechanism to engage the community in a safer and meaningful manner.
The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Community of Practice on Community Engagement (CoPCE) support the DOH to enhance closing the feedback loop through the conduct of Rapid Information, Communication and Accountability Assessment (RICAA). The undertaking is in close coordination with DOH, at-risk local governments and affected population. Part of the RICAA is the amplification of risk communications and provision of an information feedback mechanism particularly at the community level.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.