Regional Health and Communications Specialists Develop Key Messaging on Non-Communicable Diseases

Regional Health and Communications Specialists Develop Key Messaging on Non-Communicable Diseases

OECS Media Statement

Willemstad, Curaçao: Over 35 healthcare and communications professionals from 25 Caribbean countries met in Curaçao from April 29-30, 2019 to finalise a regional strategy aimed at the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – the number one cause of death in the Caribbean.

The two-day workshop, facilitated by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), was co-funded by CARPHA and the World Diabetes Foundation and sought to identify and adapt a pool of effective information, education and communication (IEC) materials aimed at increasing awareness and communication on NCDs in targeted populations and communities within the OECS/CARPHA Member States in the Caribbean.

Lydia Atkins, Programme Officer for Health at the OECS Commission, highlighted the importance of informed messaging in influencing behavioural changes and the need for collective action to effectively harmonise messages and public health campaigns in the region.

“Research has consistently shown that evidence-based communication programmes can increase knowledge, shift attitudes and cultural norms and produce changes in a wide variety of behaviours.”

“This strategy has proven effective in several health areas, such as increasing the use of family planning methods, preventing HIV and AIDS and improving maternal and child health.”

“Under the recently approved World Diabetes Foundation grant for the ‘OECS Diabetes Prevention and Care’ project, the OECS will be implementing a year-long Mass Media Campaign which aims to go beyond the delivery of a simple message or slogan to encompass the full range of ways in which people individually and collectively convey meaning.”

“The campaign will implement the effective use of key IEC materials in the mass media, community-level activities and the everyday interpersonal communication with healthcare providers.”

Atkins also noted that the Social Marketing Strategy for the Project will provide a twelve (12) month comprehensive road-map for achieving increased awareness and communication on type 2 diabetes and its consequences among various stakeholders throughout the region, and to sensitise citizens to take appropriate action for the care and prevention of diabetes.

Key outcomes of the meeting were:

  • A finalised selection of Key IEC Messages to be used in the Mass Media Campaign;
  • The identification of Target Audiences for the Key IEC Messages;
  • The adaption of culturally appropriate and effective pre-existing IEC materials to promote diabetes awareness and adoption of healthy lifestyles; and
  • A finalised strategy for a yearlong Mass Media Campaign.

The OECS Commission will continue to work with partners such as CARPHA, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to align strategic approaches to improve diabetes care and cardiovascular health in Member States.

 

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Lydia Atkins OECS Health Unit, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
OECS Communications Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Lydia Atkins OECS Health Unit, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
OECS Communications Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an International Organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance among independent and non-independent countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The OECS came into being on June 18th 1981, when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate with each other while promoting unity and solidarity among its Members. The Treaty became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, so named in honour of the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis where it was signed. The OECS today, currently has eleven members, spread across the Eastern Caribbean comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

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