MINISTRY of Health and Child Care’s Family Health Department and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) engaged health promotion officers in the country to tackle communication gaps hampering the utilisation of Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH&N) services.
By HealthTimes Reporter
Speaking the meeting, Priscilla Madzinga-Kusena the Communication for Development Officer at UNICEF said RMNCAH&N outcomes are shaped by individual, community behaviours, social / gender norms.
“Delays in seeking care, poor home-based care management of pregnant women and children, supply-side barriers, and lack of an enabling environment for RMNCAH&N contribute to poor RMNCAH&N outcomes.
“In addition, the growth of religious communities and urban elites reticent to use of modern health care services and medicines poses challenges to health interventions in the country and affects performance of some health indicators,” she said.
Health promotion officers also highlighted communication gaps that are affecting utilization of RMNCAH&N services in their communities. They also identified some communication interventions that can help counter these challenges. These suggestions were used as a window in coming up with draft communication plans for each province and district. More so, health Promotion officers were tasked to go and draft communication plans with their colleagues from their respective areas which will be compiled to come up with a national plan.
The Health Ministry has prioritized health as a development imperative. In turn, the Family Health department developed a five – years communication strategy; The Zimbabwe Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH&N) Strategy (2017-2021) that provides the strategic framework for the implementation of RMNCAH&N interventions in the country.
The Communication Strategy is characterized by four sub-strategy elements (Reproductive Health, Maternal and New-born Health; Child Health; and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights), and cross-cutting issues (HIV and AIDS; Sexual and Gender-Based Violence; and Persons with Disabilities). Under each sub-strategy, a situation analysis, key priority negative social norms, communication objectives and activities are presented.