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Extension workers, community influential leaders mentored on surveillance and risk communication

Jun 18, 2020, 11:16 AM

The National Risk Communication and Community Engagement (NRCCE) Committee of the National Health Emergency (NHE) Committee on COVID-19 response, with support from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), has embarked on a follow up of trained extension workers and community influential leaders, women representatives and Village Development Committees (VDCs) to mentor and coach  them on the implementation of community-based surveillance and risk communication and community engagement in five health regions in the country.

The NRCCE Committee is a multi-sectoral committee chaired by the director of Health Promotion and Education at the Ministry of Health. It conducts participatory community meetings and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and transect walk across some of the communities to have better understanding and knowledge of the communities.

The activity targets to assess the level of implementation of COVID-19 prevention and
control strategies in communities along The Gambia - Senegal borders and guide the implementation process; assess and build existing capacities of communities towards readiness and surveillance system strengthening along the borderline; review the action plans developed by the community representatives trained on COVID-19 along the border line and guide them on the implementation process. It also mentors the community representatives trained on how to respond to fake news, COVID-19 denial, stigma and discrimination, illegal border crossing, smuggling and low clinic attendance by pregnant and lactating mothers along the borderline communities, among others.

The NRCCE Committee is a specialised technical pillar on COVID-19 response under the NHEC responsible for the coordination and facilitation of planning, implementation and evaluation of awareness, community engagement and behaviour change communication programmes planned and implemented with particular reference COVID-19 Emergency response.

Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) is an essential component of a health emergency preparedness and response action plan against COVID-19 to help to prevent or slow the transmission of the virus in communities. The overall objective of the RCCE Committee is to provide technical guidance on evidence based COVID-19 risk communication and community engagement interventions through a participatory, community-based strategy to inform concerned stakeholders on the best practices, and to prevent, timely detect and respond to concerns, rumours and misinformation.

The interactive community engagement activity in the five health regions provided an opportunity for the NRCCE Committee members to listen to the community members on the efforts they are making to prevent COVID-19 in their communities. The team also learnt practices on the prevention of COVID-19 in their communities such as the establishment of border surveillance committees, identification of community vigilantes and as well as community by-laws in the protection of the health of the communities.

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