Coronavirus: Communicating The Risks With Appropriate Messages

Some 20 journalists in Yaounde were on April 3, 2020 briefed by officials from United Nations agencies in Yaounde and the Ministry of Public Health.

While the Coronavirus or COVID-19 rages on in Cameroon and in most parts of the world, the public tends to be confused as to the best practices to adopt in order to stay safe. This is more so as social media these days is awash with myths about COVID-19 and “tested therapies” which supposedly can treat the viral disease. All this is in the face of repeated warnings by scientists and medical practitioners that no vaccine or cure has yet been found for COVID-19.
It was in this context that officials from the Ministry of Public Health, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO and the World Health Organisation, WHO, on Friday, April 3, 2020 in Yaounde held a briefing for over 20 journalists. Participants were encouraged to adapt their messages to the context and perceived level of understanding of community people. While not failing to point out the great risks posed by Coronavirus, especially as it is easily transmitted and is very deadly. 
Techniques for mobilizing community people and getting them to join in efforts to stop the spread of the disease were also discussed. How to promptly dispel rumour by communicating the right information was another topic handled at the debriefing session. The training ended with role plays on how to effectively communicate and sensitise on Coronavirus. Facilitation of the training was carried out by Barbara Etoa and Antonio Palazuelos of WHO, Salomon Marie Joseph Beguel of UNICEF and Mbezele Sandra of the Centre Regional Delegation of Public Health



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