[www.inewsguyana.com] – In preparation for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), Guyana has joined with approximately 30 of its regional neighbours at a Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) workshop to share the country’s experience and work together on developing a National Risk Communication Strategy.
The three-day workshop which was held at the Crane Resort, St. Philips, Barbados commenced on November 4, and sought to strengthen national capacity for emergency risk communications, in the respective countries along with their bilateral partners.
At the opening ceremony, Barbados’ Minister of Health (ag), Donville Inniss noted that there is great need for the building of strength in the area of risk communication as he expressed his gratitude for the initiative and welcomed the participants to the beautiful Island.
The participatory workshop was aimed at threading together knowledge, skills, practice and planning, using adult learning techniques. It focused on current and potential risks to people’s health such as influenza-like illness/pandemic; dengue haemorrhagic fever, Chikungunya and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in order to strengthen national risk communications capacity, building on efforts made to establish and maintain it in compliance with the International Health Regulations (IHR), and the 2014-2016 National Extension Action Plans and the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework.
The areas focused on also included the 21st Century Challenges to risk communication, applying the principles of emergency risk communication, dealing with the media and social media in emergencies, pandemic communications response – lessons learnt, developing a National Risk Communications strategy and plan and best practices of a systematic approach.
Approximately 100 participants from the Caribbean attended the workshop. These included national epidemiologists, officials in charge of risk communication at the Ministry of Health, Government Information Services officers, Chief Medical Officers, the United Nations (UN) Agencies and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and Representatives from Ministry of Tourism or tourism boards in the various countries.
Guyana was represented by Dr. Morris Edward and Dr. Collin James of the Ministry of Health along with Angela Hoyte of PAHO’s Guyana office and a representative of the Government Information Agency (GINA).
The sessions allowed a lot of interaction among the participants and saw fun learning moments as the various representatives became acquainted with each other, as well as the facilitators. [Extracted and modified from GINA]