With support from the Global Health Development (GHD), represented by the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET), the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population held a workshop on strategic communications for the primary healthcare sector and the Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) in Yemen.
Held January 1 – 5, 2017, the workshop saw opening remarks from the Yemeni Minister of Public Health and Population H.E. Dr. Mohammed Salem Bin Hafeez. His Excellency stated that strategic communications are of great importance, especially during these trying times. He also pointed out that 49% of the available health facilities in Yemen have stopped operating, a fact that brings with it a need for finding alternative measures to cover healthcare needs and reduce the spread of diseases.
His Excellency continued by stating that keeping the public informed about priority health issues is key. “The Ministry believes that health awareness is one of its top priorities, and it views health communication as one of the most effective tools for overcoming some of the challenges facing the country. Dedicating this workshop for this purpose shows innovation, commitment, and appreciated strength,” he said. Furthermore, he thanked GHD/EMPHNET for its ongoing support to the Ministry especially in the areas of health communication and health awareness.
GHD/EMPHNET Public Health and Communications Advisor Dr. Ali A. Al-Mudhwahi also spoke about the significance of the workshop, stating that it offers a space for discussions pertaining to communications and the development of a communications strategy fitting in terms of both quality and effectiveness to the healthcare needs of the country. He further added that the community’s acceptance of the health care services is dependent on the formation of a real partnership between all stakeholders and beneficiaries in the field of public health. “Through the spread of awareness about preventative public health practices, we strive to pinpoint the priority areas that need addressing in the field of public health,” Dr. Ali said.
During the first days of the workshop, participants were split into four groups. Within these groups they discussed different aspects of communication strategies and priority communication areas for primary health care. The groups also discussed strategies for risk communication and social marketing.
The last days of the workshop saw discussions pertaining to communication strategies for the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) and areas of primary healthcare, while ensuring that the proposed strategies formed during the sessions fall in line with the health priorities of the country and its health standards.
The workshop was attended by Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Abdel Salam Al Madani alongside other ministry officials from PHC programs, health education and officials from five Yemeni governorates.