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Risk communication during health emergencies in Nigeria: What are its challenges?

Oluwatosin Wuraola Akande, Yahya Disu, Chijioke Kaduru, Chimezie Anueyiagu, Emeka Oguanuo, Tijesu Ojumu, Oreoluwa Akomolafe, Sunday Obiajunwa Eziechina, Ukwori Ejibe, Vivianne Ihekweazu, Chinwe Lucia Ochu, Chikwe Ihekweazu
Journal of Public Health in Africa | Vol 14, No 1 | a299 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2023.1943 | © 2024 Oluwatosin Wuraola Akande, Yahya Disu, Chijioke Kaduru, Chimezie Anueyiagu, Emeka Oguanuo, Tijesu Ojumu, Oreoluwa Akomolafe, Sunday Obiajunwa Eziechina, Ukwori Ejibe, Vivianne Ihekweazu, Chinwe Lucia Ochu, Chikwe Ihekweazu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 April 2024 | Published: 27 January 2023

About the author(s)

Oluwatosin Wuraola Akande, Department of Prevention, Programmes and Knowledge Management, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja; Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria
Yahya Disu, Department of Prevention, Programmes and Knowledge Management, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria
Chijioke Kaduru, Health Division, Corona Management Systems, Abuja; Department of Corporate Communications, Office of the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria
Chimezie Anueyiagu, Department of Prevention, Programmes and Knowledge Management, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria
Emeka Oguanuo, Department of Corporate Communications, Office of the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria
Tijesu Ojumu, Department of Corporate Communications, Office of the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria
Oreoluwa Akomolafe, Office of the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria
Sunday Obiajunwa Eziechina, Department of Prevention, Programmes and Knowledge Management, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria
Ukwori Ejibe, Office of the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria
Vivianne Ihekweazu, Office of the Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch, Abuja, Nigeria
Chinwe Lucia Ochu, Department of Prevention, Programmes and Knowledge Management, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria
Chikwe Ihekweazu, Office of the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria

Abstract

Although globalization has been advantageous in facilitating the free movement of people, goods, and services, the ease of movement of cross-border pathogens has increased the risk of international public health emergencies in recent years. Risk com-munication is an integral part of every country’s response during public health emergencies such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. To effectively increase adherence to guidelines during health emergencies, it is essential to understand the impact of social, cultural, political, and environmental factors on people’s behaviours and lifestyles in any given context, as well as how these factors influence people’s perception of risks. During the recent response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the need to comprehend these influences was pronounced, and these influences ultimately shaped risk communication in Nigeria. We have identified risk communication challenges in Nigeria based on sociocultural diversity, the complexity of the health system, the impact of social media on communications, and other contextual factors surrounding multisectoral partnerships. To achieve global health security, these challenges must be addressed in resource-constrained countries like Nigeria. In this paper, we emphasize the need to contextualize risk communication strategies in order to improve their effectiveness during health emergencies. In addition, we urge increased country commitment to a multi-hazard and multisectoral effort, deliberate investment in subnational risk communication systems, and investments in capacity building for risk communication activities.


Keywords

Risk communication; health emergencies; Nigeria

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