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J Public Health Afr ; 14(1): 1943, 2023 Jan 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2227172


Although globalization has been advantageous in facilitating the free movement of people, goods, and services, the ease of movement of cross-border pathogens has increased the risk of international public health emergencies in recent years. Risk communication is an integral part of every country's response during public health emergencies such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. To effectively increase adherence to guidelines during health emergencies, it is essential to understand the impact of social, cultural, political, and environmental factors on people's behaviours and lifestyles in any given context, as well as how these factors influence people's perception of risks. During the recent response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the need to comprehend these influences was pronounced, and these influences ultimately shaped risk communication in Nigeria. We have identified risk communication challenges in Nigeria based on sociocultural diversity, the complexity of the health system, the impact of social media on communications, and other contextual factors surrounding multisectoral partnerships. To achieve global health security, these challenges must be addressed in resourceconstrained countries like Nigeria. In this paper, we emphasize the need to contextualize risk communication strategies in order to improve their effectiveness during health emergencies. In addition, we urge increased country commitment to a multi-hazard and multisectoral effort, deliberate investment in subnational risk communication systems, and investments in capacity building for risk communication activities.

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


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.

COVID-19 , Social Media , Communication , Humans , Nigeria/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control