Risk communication during health emergencies in Nigeria: What are its challenges?
Accepted: 24 April 2022
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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 mul-tisectoral effort, deliberate investment in subnational risk commu-nication systems, and investments in capacity building for risk communication activities.
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