3.8 Health promotion


Health promotion activities accompany the prevention measures described in this chapter at different levels.

3.8.1 Target population

– Patients and attendants in cholera treatment centres
and/or
– Urban and rural populations. Among general population, specific groups may also be targeted depending on the context such as people with an activity associated with a high risk of transmission (water or street food vendors), an activity that promotes early case detection (e.g. healers, often the first people the sick go to see when they fall ill), etc.

3.8.2 Means

Mass media used by national authorities (radio, television, press, posters in towns, text messages) does not reach everyone (e.g. rural populations or deprived urban population). Other means should be considered such as presentations/discussions in village or neighbourhood meetings, organised by dedicated mobile health promotion teams that speak the local language or by people that can relay the information and influence practices amongst local authorities, religious or traditional leaders, associations, community health workers, teachers, etc. Mobile teams can also carry out home visits or carry out activities at water points, schools, markets, etc.
Any means adapted to the context can be used to inform the population.
All distributions, including soap distributions, are an opportunity to carry out health promotion activities.

3.8.3 Messages

Key messages must specifically focus on cholera and the current outbreak. They must be simple, clear and consistent.
People must at least be made familiar with:
– the symptoms of the disease
– what to do in the event of watery diarrhoea
– individual prevention measures
– the outbreak control measures set up (location of CTC, ORP, safe water points, etc.).
See Appendix 4 for key public information messages.

Stick to basic messages. Sometimes additional information or discussions are necessary, e.g. in the event of mass cholera vaccination, an organised distribution, a problem specific to the context (e.g. rumours, community rejection of CTC).

3.8.4 Demonstrations

Any distribution of products that present a health risk if used incorrectly (e.g. ORS, all water disinfectants) must be accompanied by a demonstration to ensure the product is correctly handled.