The African Network for Strategic Communication in Health and Development (AfriComNet) held a learning forum last week for health communication practitioners in Uganda as part of ongoing Uganda Springboard activities. The forum, held at the Sheraton hotel June 26 attracted more than 70 social and behavior change communication (SBCC) practitioners from the Ministry of Health, USAID, UN agencies, as well as university lecturers, health journalists, marketers and advertising firms.
Delivering a keynote presentation on Why SBCC is an Investment and Not a Cost was Dr. Ben Lozare from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (JHU∙CCP)– who took a break from the leadership training course he was conducting in Entebbe. Lozare stressed the need to use professionals to design and implement SBCC programs. He mentioned that for SBCC to work it had to be properly designed, adding that just the way bad medicine does not work, so does bad SBCC.
He urged participants to stop being defensive about whether SBCC works and instead concentrate on showing how it has been used to make the difference. “Politicians, comedians, advertisers and other professionals know that communication works. It seems only public health professionals are the ones who seem unsure of whether communication works,” he concluded.
During the forum, participants were oriented to the virtual Springboard as a mechanism to support continued networking among the Uganda health communication community. Members commended AfriComNet for organizing the forum and reiterated their support to regularize the event, focusing on different activities. More than 50 attendees registered on Springboard.