Taking an Innovative Approach towards Improved Public Health in Zimbabwe

Thursday 1 June 2023


Save the Children through financial support from Unilever implemented the Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition 2 project aiming to contribute to the prevention and mitigation of COVID-19 transmission in Zimbabwe. Among other initiatives, the project strengthened the capacity of health workers to effectively deal with public health emergencies like COVID-19.

Findings from a baseline survey conducted by Save the Children indicated that the capacity of health workers to engage communities on public health issues was limited by inadequate resources and low confidence levels among health practitioners. To bridge this gap, Save the Children took a proactive approach to public health through partnering with Mobile Healthcare Networks Zimbabwe to develop an online course for health workers titled “Risk Communication in Emergencies”.

An online platform called MyCpdZw (www.mycpdzw.org ) was identified as a tool to reach health workers registered under the Nurses Council of Zimbabwe with this course. The course comprises of four interactive modules with text and audio-visual components, covering- risk communication strategy, public communication, community engagement, dynamic listening and rumour management. This would enable health workers to carry out their work more effectively by providing them with valuable insights and techniques to better engage with the communities they serve.

"The decision to use My CPD platform to host our online course on Communication in Emergencies proved to be a valuable and innovative opportunity for our project. By leveraging this platform, we were able to reach a wider audience of healthcare workers than originally anticipated, providing them with crucial training on effective communication during critical situations. Additionally, utilizing an online platform was a more cost-effective approach compared to traditional face-to-face training methods, which can be both expensive and time-consuming." Project Officer, Save the Children.

The best part is that health workers have the convenience of accessing this course online, which means they can simply log into the platform for instant access. This eliminates the need for them to travel to attend seminars.

"I was able to access the online course from the comfort of my home. This saved me time and money that I would have spent traveling to attend seminars. The course has equipped me with valuable knowledge and skills that have helped me provide better healthcare services to families in my community." - Mary*, Health Worker.

Thanks to this innovative approach, health workers in Zimbabwe are better equipped to deal with public health emergencies like COVID-19. They can communicate more effectively with their communities and provide better healthcare services for children and families during public health emergencies.

“The course has really helped us as health workers. We now have a better understanding of how to communicate effectively with communities during public health emergencies like COVID-19. This has led to increased trust and confidence among community members, making our work easier." – Jane*, Health Worker.

"Participating in the CPD online course on Communication during emergencies was incredibly valuable to nurses, as it provided them with a deeper understanding of the different communication channels and strategies used in responding to critical situations like COVID-19 and Cholera outbreaks. Through this course, nurses gained a greater appreciation for the importance of effective communication in emergency response efforts." Nurse-In-Charge, Beitibridge district.

To date, the course has reached over 17,000 nurses, which accounts for 68% of the total number of active nurses on the platform.