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Health Professionals Receive Training On How To Get Jamaicans To Adopt Healthy Behaviours – NHF Provides $1.8 Million For Workshop

Health Professionals Receive Training On How To Get Jamaicans To Adopt Healthy Behaviours – NHF Provides $1.8 Million For Workshop

Twenty healthcare professionals from Jamaica, made up mostly of health educators, received training in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) for Behavioural Impact, at a one-week training workshop in Kingston last week (May 2-8, 2011). The workshop provided the participants with the skills to achieve behavioral results especially in the area of adopting healthy behaviours to affect non-communicable diseases. The National Health Fund (NHF) sponsored the workshop at a cost of $1.8 million.

Prior to this workshop, only a few persons received training in COMBI because of the cost of the 3-week COMBI Summer Training Programme at the New York University. However based on the funds provided by NHF, which could only have sponsored four persons to the New York Programme, twenty communicators were trained instead at the workshop which was held at the Spanish Court Hotel.

Dr. Everold Hosein, Communications Advisor for the World Health Organization, WHO and former Senior Counselor for Social Development at Burson-Marsteller (the largest global public relations and communication consulting company) conducted the Workshop. He noted that the WHO has successfully applied the IMC approach (referred to in WHO as COMBI – “Communication for Behavioural Impact”) in dealing with a broad range of diseases. Dr Hosien, a Trinidadian, is an international communication specialist with 30 years of experience in strategic marketing communication, IMC/COMBI, advocacy and public relations, and IEC (information-education-communication) related to social development issues, particularly in health, education, agricultural and rural development.

Towards the end of workshop, the participants developed four draft COMBI plans for increasing physical activity, increasing fruit and vegetable intake, salt reduction and increasing the number of women doing pap smears.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Mr. Hugh Lawson, CEO at the NHF said that many persons are aware of the need to practice a healthy lifestyle. “What we need now is more and more Jamaicans to start adopting these behaviours, if we are going to improve the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in our island,” he said. He was impressed with the enthusiasm of the groups and the draft COMBI plans presented and noted that with this approach we should see more effective communications programmes that move people from knowledge into action.

Dr. Sonia Copeland, Director of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, noted that one in six persons die from non- communicable diseases in Jamaica, although many of these diseases are preventable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of Type Two diabetes and 40% of cancers are preventable. “This training workshop will be the basis for building on what we have done in the past and developing communications strategies that will ensure better success in modifying behaviours and helping to mitigate these diseases”, Dr Copeland said.

For further information contact:
Rosemarie Lee, Tel. 906-1106
Shermaine Robotham, Tel. 322- 0809

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