Preparation of a health and care illustration package
WEDC staff involved
Different approaches have been used in the past decade to pass on key health messages to communities and to promote healthier behaviour. Evidence and experience shows that directive approach based on massive communication channels have been an excellent opportunity to complement interventions based on participatory principles and increase adherence to health promotion messages.
That directive approach includes packages of simple health messages delivered by volunteers and health workers to local communities through Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials that "combine strategies, approaches and methods that enable individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities to play active roles in achieving, protective and sustaining their own health" through "a process of learning that empowers people to make decisions, modify behaviours and change social conditions" (UNFPA).
Health information can be communicated on many levels and by different channels. One of the useful ways is using visual materials to deliver messages. This includes using photographs and illustrations that can deliver the ideas and actions simply and the community can identify with. In that way, we ensure that literacy or formal schooling are not prerequisites to making effective decisions and taking action in the community.
Most of the time, communication packages are developed in the field reflecting local culture and conditions and are very much context-related. However, one of the problems regularly faced is the lack of prototype IEC materials for National Societies. This means that such materials will have to be developed again every time they are needed. In many cases, such as epidemics, this takes more time than is actually available for effective management of the issues at hand.
This effort comes as a part of the harmonisation process that is taking place among different initiatives within the Health and Care department aiming to align different community-based activities (CBFA and its household and community toolkit, PHAST, epidemic control for volunteers, and hygiene promotion in emergencies).
The package development will happen over the coming 18 months. The illustrations developed will be used within the various curricula and materials currently being developed within the Health and Care department and a comprehensive illustration library will be made available on a compact disk with regulations and directions for the use of the illustrations.
The project will include commissioning a professional artist to draw approximately 350 illustrations that are suitable for the purpose and on subjects identified collectively by the Health and Care department. Those illustrations can then be readily used by the Federation Secretariat, delegations and National Societies for a variety of purposes in health programmes.