Health: Bloggers, Content Editors equipped on risk communication, furnished on Zoonotic diseases prevention and control

A 4-day training workshop for bloggers and content editors on the prevention and control of zoonoses and risk communication, has taken place in Ebolowa, South region of Cameroon from September 13th to 16th 2022, with lessons and work sessions to drive home the concept of the workshop.

Organized by the Zoonoses program with the financial and technical support of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, provided an opportunity for Bloggers and Content Editors to equip themselves on how best to communicate on Zoonotic diseases. 

This workshop was inline with the national program for the prevention and fight against emerging zoonoses diseases in Cameroon. The objective of the workshop was to get the interaction between humans and the environment, which according to the program coordinator, Betsi Noma Epse Dibongue Elisabeth is becoming complex by the day.

That is why training participants on how to communicate in times of a crisis or emmergency was key for the workshop organizers. According to them, training these participants who are Bloggers, Content Editors on risk communication is considered as a convenient response, an integral aspect of public health in terms of emergencies.

Mme Dibongue, Principal Public Health Administrator, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the National Zoonoses Prevention and Control Program, a public health emergency management expert was fufilled to find that participants selected for the workshop excercised interest and took part actively in every work session designed for the workshop.

"Particularly i am suprised and taken a-back to see how participants demonstrated commitment in this workshop. Since the initiation of this program, i will say this is one of the impactful workshops i have had with Bloggers, Content Editors on the prevention and control of zoonoses. "

"To me the impact was huge, particularly for me i have learnt alot, the interaction amongst participants was a plus for me and i think the objectives of the workshop was met. We will definitely be working together. The collaboration of the President of ABC, the association of bloggers in Cameroon has changed the perception some health personnel had of bloggers", Mme Dibongue, Program Coordinator.

Though it was a new concept for most participants, they interest of communicating on the prevention, the fight against emerging and re-emerging zoonoses in Cameroon remains a focus. The different scenarios used to illustrate this; the pre-test and post test, work sessions helped participants to beef up their understanding on the concept.

Facilitators took turns to explain different modules; Mme Djeny Ngando spoke elaborately on communicating for behavioural change - the characteristics of risk communication on One Health, the interventions being coordination, multisectorial collaboration and transmission of data. Doctor Feussop focused on statistics on zoonotic diseases across the world and its growing rate.

The President of the Association of Bloggers in Cameroon, Dania Ebongue was very particular about having participants understand the role of bloggers while communicating in times of a health crisis; the collaboration between Bloggers' and spokes persons.

"Informing is not communicating" a quote by Dominique Voldong, recommending that the numbers of focal point communication for each diseases from the Ministry of Public health be put at the disposal of the Association of Bloggers of Cameroon, to use for communication when need be.

Group work session

Participants understood that media had special needs and that it is important to be at the service of the community, speak One Health in the language understood by the local man. "There is a link between your content and health and health", he revealed to participants in Ebolowa.

"I think the workshop in Ebolowa was a success, because people doubted the impact of bloggers and web Editors in terms of influence, making people changing their behaviour. The Zoonoses program, people were impressed with the way bloggers, web Editors were acting through live tweets. In terms of One Health program, organization it is important to associate everybody; media, social media, the web actors, bloggers so that they could also make a great advocacy through their different community."

"The workshop in Ebolowa was a great success; organizers were happy and impressed with the great level of things they learnt. Medical doctors, people incharge of the Zoonose program were impressed by thee behavior of these bloggers. This is the beginning of a great collaboration betweeen Bloggers and the Program One Health", President - Association of Bloggers Cameroon.

Before handing certificates of participation, the program coordinator announced that as part of a continuity of what has been digested at the workshop, it will be important for participants to engage in a health competition on November 3rd 2022, which is the day said aside to observe the concept " One Health". She mentioned that the launch of the game will be soon and that the Association of Bloggers in Cameroon will not be left out.

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