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BMJ Glob Health ; 7(6)2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1891812

ABSTRACT

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO recommended the prioritisation of risk communication and community engagement as part of response activities in countries. This was related to the increasing spread of misinformation and its associated risks, as well as the need to promote non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in the absence of an approved vaccine for disease prevention. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the national public health institute with the mandate to prevent and detect infectious disease outbreaks, constituted a multidisciplinary Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), which included NCDC staff and partners to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Risk communication, which also comprised crisis communication, was a pillar in the EOC. As the number of cases in Nigeria increased, the increasing spread of misinformation and poor compliance to NPIs inspired the development of the #TakeResponsibility campaign, to encourage individual and collective behavioural change and to foster a shared ownership of the COVID-19 outbreak response. Mass media, social media platforms and community engagement measures were used as part of the campaign. This contributed to the spread of messages using diverse platforms and voices, collaboration with community leaders to contextualise communication materials and empowerment of communication officers at local levels through training, for increased impact. Despite the challenges faced in implementing the campaign, lessons such as the use of data and a participatory approach in developing communications campaigns for disease outbreaks were documented. This paper describes how a unique communication campaign was developed to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Communication , Humans , Nigeria/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control
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