five-day synergy to develop a communication strategy for the Extended Programme
on Immunization (EPI) under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Saturday
commenced at the Bwiam Lodge in Foni Kansala district.
The activity brought together officials from the West Coast regional health directorate, directorate of health promotion and education, representatives from maternal, neonatal child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) and facilitated by private consultants.
Implemented by the Government of The Gambia, the project is supported by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization, through the Health System Strengthen Grant (Gavi Hss)
The EPI programme manager Dawda Sowe said the strategy would be used as a guide for the conduct of EPI programme unit. He advised participants to do justice to the document to better serve Gambian people. He noted that the communication strategy could be used by his unit as well as other units within the ministry of health.
Saharu Kanteh, EPI communication officer said the overall goal of the Strategy is to engage and empower individuals, families and communities, through strategic behavioral change communication to make their children available for immunization and related family health services in accordance with the national schedule.
He pointed out that the strategy will also enhance efficiency of the MoHSW and the entire constituency of stakeholders and implementing partners to enhance their capacity to effectively implement, monitor, manage and coordinate it. “The Strategy will also serve as a tool to foster coherence and harmony in communication and the combined efforts of communication actors.”
According to Mr. Kanteh, the strategy will provide a level playing field for actors and minimize duplication of efforts, resources and energy. “It is expected that when the strategy is implemented as planned, it will contribute to the improvement of immunization coverage and adoption of related family health practices,” he said.
He stressed that another important rationale for developing a communication strategy is that it enhances donor and stakeholders’ confidence in an organization and also creates a platform for coordinated planning and action among partners.