The “Facts for life” booklet reaches the grass roots level
Huye 20, 2012. Rwanda Biomedical Centre through its Division Rwanda Health Communication Centre in collaboration with UNICEF is organizing five days training workshops on the use of “Facts for Life” booklet at Huye in the Southern Province on June 18-22, 2012. The training workshops target supervisors of community health workers and officers in charge of hygiene and environment in health centres of the Southern Province.
Mr. RUTAYISIRE Justin, the Communication for Development Specialist from UNICEF gave the participants historical background of the booklet. Mr. RUTAYISIRE declared that this booklet has been designed to help the community to get essential and easy information on basic knowledge in health. The booklet will help protect health of children and mothers. He added that Parents and other people involved in education of children will use the messages contained in this book. Thus, the whole population needs to have and practice this knowledge.
This booklet “Facts for Life” will help Rwandan population to curb preventable diseases as 80% of child and mother deaths are caused by these preventable diseases. The booklet addresses issues like Timing Births, Safe Motherhood to Newborn Health, Childhood Development and Early Learning, Breastfeeding, Nutrition and Growth, Immunization, Diarrhoea, Coughs, Colds and More Serious Illnesses, Hygiene, Malaria, HIV, Child Protection, Injury Prevention, Emergency Preparedness and Response.
The participants were urged to convey the content of the “ Facts for Life” booklet to the Community Health Workers who are closer to the community. In order to build their communication skills participants were trained on Communication for Behaviour and Social Change, Communicating for Sustainable Behaviour and Social change, Engaging Households and Communities, Supervision, Monitoring and Reporting.
The officer in charge of Media Relations in RBC/RHCC Mr. HABARUREMA Gaspard urged participants to effectively use behavior and social change communication strategies in their training they will organize for community health workers. Mr. HABARUREMA added that the participants should identify problems and issues to address from the community using participatory approaches including walkabouts, transect walks, Social Mapping etc.
Mrs. MURINDAHABI Epiphanie, the Officer in charge of the Behavioral Change Communication in the Community Health Desk of the Ministry of Health explained to participants that they should use effectively different forms/types of communication and the key attributes of each to enable them to better communicate to the community.
The participants appreciated knowledge they learnt from the training as these workshops will enable them to improve their communication strategies as they used not to consult and involve the population in identifying and addressing health issues at the grass roots level. One of the participants Mrs. NYIRARUKUNDO Aurore, the Supervisor of Community Health Workers at Hanika Health Centre in Nyanza District declared that, “This booklet ‘Facts for Life’ is a useful tool that will be used by the community health workers to communicate to the mass health issues.”
These workshops brought together around 160 participants from health Centres in all the districts of the Southern Province. It is worth mentioning that these types of training workshops are concurrently organized in the Western Province at Rubavu District. The workshops will be extended to all other provinces of the country targeting supervisors of the health community workers and officers in charge of hygiene and environment in health centres of the country.