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Medical professionals and health communicators strengthen capacity in emergency communication

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 12 November 2010 – The Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) completed a three day workshop organized for medical professionals and health communicators on the fundamentals of effective communication interventions during emergencies.

The workshop participants representing various branches of the healthcare system responsible for public health communication were the specialists of the Health Information Centre, State Sanitary Epidemiological Services, Scientific-clinical Centre for Mother and Child Healthcare, velayat HIV/AIDS Prevention Centers and Health Departments, as well as faculty staff of the State Medical University and five medical colleges.

Medical specialists were exposed to the best international practices in the area of communication for development, including risk and crisis communication. The training highlighted planning, response and evaluation phases of comprehensive emergency communication with the principles of accuracy, transparency, and timeliness of information presented to the public. The facilitator of the seminar, Guy Scandlen, a renowned international expert in behavior and social change communication, also introduced participants to contemporary theoretical thinking in the field of public communication and importance of the evidence-base for strategizing communication interventions.

This workshop is one of the series of trainings to strengthen the capacity of national specialists to effectively address health communication issues in possible public health outbreaks and other emergencies. In July 2010, an orientation seminar for media professionals on reporting during emergencies also took place.

Emergency preparedness has become a priority area for the Government of Turkmenistan and the United Nations and was reflected in the new 2010-2015 United Nations Development Assistance Framework document.

UNICEF provides technical assistance to the Government in pandemic influenza prevention and other emergency preparedness activities that include capacity building components and public communication interventions.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Ayna Seyitlieva
UNICEF Communication for Development Officer
Phone: +99312 425681/82/86/86
Fax: +99312 420830



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