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Minister of Health Dr. Alexandre Manguele launches ‘Facts for Life’ behavior change communication framework

© UNICEF Mozambique / A. Drivdal
The Minister of Health with a copy of Facts for Life at the launch of the handbook. The Minister is accompanied by UNICEF Representative Jesper Morch on his right and by WHO Representative El Hadi Benzerroug on his left.

MAPUTO, Mozambique, 7 April 2011 – In a well-attended ceremony at the Ministry of Health on 6 April this year, Mozambican Minister of Health Dr. Alexandre Manguele launched the Facts for Life (known in Portuguese as ‘Saude e Vida’) handbook and behavior change communication framework.

The Facts for Life handbook consists of essential life-saving messages for families and communities and provides a coherent communication framework to convey these messages. The Minister was joined by senior officials at the Ministry of Health, as well as by Mr. Jesper Morch, UNICEF Representative, and Dr. El Hadi Benzerroug, WHO Representative.

Dr. Benzeroug, who spoke on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator in Mozambique, emphasized that Facts for Life is a joint effort by eight different UN agencies, including UNICEF and the WHO, in support of the objectives of the Mozambican Government.

“Today, we are launching this book on behalf of all Portuguese-speaking countries,” Dr. Benzerroug said in his speech. “In the name of the UN, we are asking everyone to join forces behind this initiative, in support of the dissemination of the messages that are contained within the Facts for Life handbook. Mothers and fathers and other caregivers need this information to save and improve the lives of the children in their care.”

© UNICEF Mozambique / A. Drivdal
In his speech, the Minister of Health expressed the wish that the Facts for Life handbook would be used widely both within and outside the Government system.

The Minister of Health explained that Facts for Life is an instrument that should be used to present messages and essential information about health, education and other important topics at the community level. Such messages could be reinforced by dedicated, focused and coherent communication campaigns. He thanked the UN Resident coordinator and the UN system for producing the handbook and expressed the wish that it would be widely used by health workers, educators, other officials, civil society organizations and others.

“In effect, in the interaction between the Government and the population at large, communication functions as a vehicle for education, ensuring that the most distant communities are reached with messages about health, which in turn contributes to the well-being of society,” said Minister Manguele.

“In this regard, we recognize the communicators, who in a persuasive manner help messages reach the population in the service of public health,” the Minister added.

Facts for Life has been translated into 215 languages, and more than 15 million copies of the handbook have been printed and distributed at the community level. In Mozambique, UNICEF has printed 15,000 copies of the 4th edition in Portuguese for distribution to and use by both government and non-government partners. The effort is a joint UN initiative under the auspices of the Delivering as One framework, the UN system’s process to coordinate and integrate its activities across multiple agencies and programs.

The event at the Ministry of Health also marked World Health Day (WHD), which falls on 7 April each year. The focus for this year’s WHD is antimicrobial resistance, that is, resistance to drugs that help fight microbial infections of humans. Antimicrobial resistance and its global spread threaten the continued effectiveness of many medicines used today to treat the sick, and at the same time it risks jeopardizing important advances that have been made against major infectious killers, such as malaria.

For more information, please contact:

Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org

 

 
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