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Rwanda harnesses PR in fight against NCDs


Rwanda’s health sector has implemented a number of public relations (PR) campaigns to raise awareness and educate the public on non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. These campaigns aim to promote healthy lifestyles, encourage early detection and treatment of NCDs, and reduce their burden on the healthcare system.

Rwanda’s response to addressing non-communicable diseases is found in the National Strategy and Costed Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases which covers a five-year period from July 2020 to June 2025. The first strategic objective is NCD prevention through health promotion and reduction of risk factors which include unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, indoor pollution, occupational exposure to carcinogens, and infections.

The strategy stated that exposure to many of these risk factors begins in childhood, even in the intrauterine period. It is therefore vital that there is a good level of health literacy among the general population so people can make healthy personal decisions. Health education programmes must be implemented beyond healthcare centres, in schools, workplaces, and the community.

In Rwanda, PR has been used to fight non-communicable diseases through various initiatives. The government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Health and the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, used PR to launch public awareness campaigns to educate the public about the risks and symptoms of NCDs, such as hypertension and diabetes.

Public relations campaigns can be an effective tool in the fight against non-communicable diseases by raising awareness about the risks and symptoms of NCDs, promoting healthy lifestyle choices, and supporting public health campaigns. Such campaigns can be used to communicate with the public through various channels such as news releases, social media, and community events. They can also be used to build relationships with key stakeholders such as government officials, healthcare professionals, and community leaders.

Additionally, PR provides accurate and up-to-date information about NCDs and the impact of different related policies. Overall, PR plays an important role in reducing the burden of NCDs by educating the public, promoting healthy behaviours, and supporting public health initiatives.

In addition, PR strategies are used to raise awareness about NCDs, educate the public about risk factors and prevention, and promote healthy behaviour. This can be done through a variety of channels, including social media, traditional media, and community outreach programmes.

Rwanda’s health sector has also used PR to promote healthy lifestyle choices, such as regular physical activity and healthy eating, through events such as Kigali Car Free Day which takes place every first and third Sunday of the month, sports tournaments, and health fairs.

Community-based initiatives such as health clubs and community health workers, also play an important role in raising awareness about NCDs and promoting healthy behaviours. These initiatives use PR to communicate with the community and engage them in health education and promotion activities.

Digital health booming in Rwanda

The digital health sector in Rwanda is a rapidly growing field, with a focus on using technology to improve healthcare access and outcomes for the population. This includes the use of telemedicine, electronic medical records, and mobile health (mHealth) applications.

The government of Rwanda has made significant investments in digital health, like the national eHealth strategy aimed at improving healthcare delivery through the use of technology and digital solutions. The strategy focuses on areas such as telemedicine, electronic health records, and digital health infrastructure. The goal of the strategy is to improve healthcare outcomes, increase access to healthcare services, and reduce costs for both patients and providers.

The health sector has also partnered with private companies and international organisations to implement digital health solutions. The goal of these efforts is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the country’s healthcare system.

In Rwanda, communication is an important aspect of the country’s healthcare system. The government and various organisations have implemented several strategies to improve communication and information sharing in the healthcare sector. These include the use of technology, such as mobile health (mHealth) and telemedicine, as well as the training of healthcare workers in effective communication skills.

There are also campaigns to educate the public on important health information and on how to access healthcare services. Effective communication is crucial for improving the accessibility, quality, and efficiency of healthcare in Rwanda.

Rwanda’s health sector has used digital communication effectively to improve health education, access to care, and adherence to treatment, which can all play a role in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases and other health issues.

The writer is a digital strategist based in Kigali


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