Enhancing Community Engagement in the COVID-19 Response
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the global media space has been saturated with COVID-19 related topics. However, this has also come with a barrage of misconception, misinformation, and fears from diverse conjectures regarding the transmission dynamics and other epidemiological characteristics of the disease. These have continued to present great challenges to the response activities of several countries and efforts to discourage high-risk behaviours.
Given the above, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) continues to leverage both new and traditional media platforms to communicate evidence-based messaging on COVID-19 preventive measures across the country. This includes scaling-up risk communication and awareness through strategic social mobilisation and community engagement. These efforts are critical for addressing public misconceptions, strengthening response efforts and ensuring the public have the confidence to take responsibility in the fight against COVID-19.
In line with this, on the 11th of June, 2020, the Risk Communication Pillar of the national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Risk Communication Unit of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 organised a virtual dialogue session with relevant community stakeholders. The aim was to reinforce grass-root knowledge of COVID-19 and promote behaviour change in various communities towards slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. The meeting had the following objectives:
To secure the buy-in of the state actors for bottom-up community engagement and behaviour change messaging
To effectively coordinate stakeholders, resources and efforts for effective and efficient risk communication and community engagement in hotspots local government areas (LGAs)
To continuously deploy data driven messages that address the emerging realities of the communities
To promote individual ownership and community leadership of the response to COVID-19
To use feedback from the communities to shape overall response
A total 172 participants from 18 states attended the meeting including State Epidemiologists, State Health Promotion Officers, State Primary Health Care Board Health Educators, development partners and other key stakeholders.
The meeting provided a unique opportunity to understand community perception of the current pandemic and how this can be tackled towards a harmonised national response. An important next step is to provide technical support to the states and LGAs on how to leverage their networks and use their influence to contribute to community behavioural change campaign.
As the economy gradually re-opens, we urge all Nigerians to adhere to the use of face masks when in public; wash hands frequently; and always observe physical distancing of at least 2 metres from others. The NCDC recognises the importance of community engagement and will continue to provide support to all relevant stakeholders to ensure the right information on COVID-19 is available to the public, at all levels.
Summary of Incidents
Information for this disease was retrieved from the Technical Working Group and Situation Reports
Case Fatality Rate (CFR) for this disease is reported for confirmed cases only
Information for this disease was retrieved from IDSR 002 data
CFR for this disease is reported for total cases i.e. suspected + confirmed
Information for sentinel influenza was retrieved from the laboratory