A four-day workshop on social and behavioral change that aimed to strengthen the programing capacity in planning health promotion activities to trigger and sustain social and behavior change ends with success.
Participant’s ability to apply, in Solomon Islands context, health promotion strategies based on behavioral analysis enhanced, including ability to apply the analysis to define objectives, plan specific activities and determine appropriate communication modes to bring about sustainable change and development.
The workshop also enabled participants to identify the Health Promotion functions at different levels and learn from open discussions and questioning on how each Province dealt with public/community responses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Led by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Health Promotion Department with support from UNICEF the workshop gathered health promotion officers across the country.
Director Health Promotion MHMS, Mr. Adrian Leamana in welcoming participants highlighted the importance of health promotion. “Simply put, if a community is provided with water supply yet, the community do not know how to properly wash their hands and the critical times for hand washing such as before eating and after using the toilet then the desirable health outcome would not be achieved. People will still experience diarrhea and other health issues. Thus providing these important health knowledge to the people and ensuring that it is practiced constantly is equally important as installing the water systems”, explained Mr. Leamana
He explained that the health scenario in a very difficult position at this time when the world is facing a ‘triple burden of diseases’ NCD, Communicable and newly or re-emerging diseases, such COVID-19, monkey pox and so forth. “Therefore our strategies must also improvise to accommodate for these new developments as well and the lessons learnt from past experiences should be our stepping stone to better our work”, said Mr. Leamana.
Mr Leamana said that the focus of health promotion is to work to its best to ensure messages and health promoting activities are connected with the people and delivered as much as possible to the vast majority of the population in rural and remote areas of the country.
He thanked UNICEF for the financial and technical support that has enabled the implementation of the workshop and stated that the gains from the workshop will go a long way in ensuring effective and efficient delivery of health promotion work across the country.
UNICEF Solomon Islands Social Behavior Specialist, Mrs. Zohra Nisar Hunzai stated working in and with communities for social and behavioral change is very challenging but it is commendable. Health Promotion role is crucial to bring this change and contribute to SDG for sustainable development and growth of a country.
She encouraged the participants to learn from each other and appreciate the work they do to grow Solomon Islands.
Dr. Zelalem Taffesse, Chief of UNICEF Field office, thanked all the workshop participants for their commitment and dedication to their work whilst highlighting that UNICEF invests in health promotion program because of the important role it plays in influencing and changing behaviors and attitudes of the people.
“Your biggest role is to change the mindset of communities and also health workers”. We truly hope that by the end of the engagement you will go with a sense of purpose,” said Dr Zelalem.
In response, participants expressed sincere appreciation the knowledge and skills gained in the workshop.