Stopping the spread of disease and saving lives through timely risk communication and community engagement in South Sudan
Juba, 1 November 2019: “Timely risk communication and community engagement results in preventing the spread of diseases and better management of hazards at household and community level,” said Dr Atem Nathan, the Director General for Primary Health Care, Ministry of Health.
Risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) are critical to health emergency preparedness and response as key strategies for International Health Regulations (2005) and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework.
To strengthen capacity for effective risk communication and community engagement for health emergency preparedness and response in South Sudan, the Ministry of Health with support from WHO trained over 40 risk communication focal points from the states, health cluster partners, media, UN, line ministries, private sector representatives, civil societies, faith based organizations as well as staff from the Public Health Emergency Operations Center trained on risk communication and community engagement concepts, principles and application in the sociocultural contexts of South Sudan.
The objective of the training was to strengthen national capacities to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate risk communication for public health events. Risk communication is a core capacity for the implementation of International Health Regulations (2005). .
“Appropriate and timely horizontal engagement of local communities and key stakeholders including community influencers is vital to stop the spread of diseases and saving the lives the community,” said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative for South Sudan. “Currently, the torrential rains have caused severe flooding and has affected close to a million people. The scale and severity of humanitarian situations continues to rise, hence timely risk communication and community engagement is critical to prevent, detect, confirm, and rapidly respond to public health risks and emergencies.”
An outbreak of infectious diseases in South Sudan can potentially be devastating with immense human suffering and a high number of deaths. Hence people need to be engaged before during after an outbreak with adequate access to accurate and timely information to mitigate the risks and protect themselves, their families and communities. Timely risk communication result in preventing the spread of diseases and better management of cases at household and community level.
The training is part of other on-going efforts under the leadership of the Ministry that WHO and other partners are providing to strengthen in country capacities to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate comprehensive risk communication and community engagement activities and responses to public health events.
The Risk Communication and Community Engagement training is supported by 'Resolve to Save Lives’.
For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:
Aminata Grace Kobie
Technical Officer Social Determinants of Health
Ms Jemila M. Ebrahim
Mobile: +211 921 647 859