TDDA workshop integrates COVID-19 and broader health security training for civil society organizations
TDDA’s work to strengthen health security in Cameroon was recently welcomed by the Permanent Secretary of the country’s Zoonosis Programme. He was speaking at our recent workshop, designed to build the capacity and capabilities of civil society organizations (CSOs) so that they can assist with public health activities.
CSOs are often an untapped resource. Many have close relationships with traditionally hard-to-reach communities and are a trusted source of information about human, animal and environmental health matters.
Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, governments face difficult challenges in raising awareness and ensuring vaccination programmes reach the people who need them most. This means there is even more reason to harness CSOs’ potential so that lives are saved.
Adapted to the specific context of Cameroon, TDDA developed a training agenda that integrates COVID and broader health security training. We conducted a mapping exercise that identified 16 CSOs who were then invited to participate in our training workshop, which took place from 26-30 July 2021 in the town of Mbankomo in the Central region.
The content of the session included an overview of health security and health equity, as well as the role CSOs can play in risk communication and community engagement. It also focused on developing the interpersonal communication skills and approaches our CSOs can use to counter misinformation and vaccine hesitancy.
Attending the training alongside the CSOs were representatives of key government ministries, WHO and members of the press. In all, 44 participants took part in the workshop, which was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Zoonosis Programme. Speaking alongside Mr Paul Simister (resident representative of the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development that funds the TDDA programme), he expressed his gratitude for our technical assistance and achievements to date.