Covid-19 Risk Communication - The Role of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps
COVID-19 is a novel disease not been previously identified in humans. Information about the disease has been unclear though more about it is being unveiled with ongoing research. Risk communication (RC) refers to exchange of real-time information, advice and opinions between experts and people facing threats to their health. It aims to enablepeople at risk to take informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones, have positive behaviour change and maintain trust. It is aneffective approachduring public health emergencies. The Nigeria Security and civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) is a frontline disaster responder and maintains a strategic position in the RC National Technical working group as well as the RC pillar of the Nigeria centre for disease control (NCDC)
Some NSCDC officers from various commands attended joint COVID-19RC training of trainers alongside officers from other law enforcement outfits. The training was facilitated by the NCDC and partners with the aim of having a pool of Security stakeholders with RC capacityfor COVID-19 response in Nigeria. Other objectives were; to prepare the security agencies to respond to emerging communicationchallenges of COVID -19 response, support response activities- especially in security compromised areas, build the capacity of the security stakeholders to address stigma andmanage rumours using an integrated approach, and integrate the security agencies into the national and subnationalRC strategies.
The trained personnel made up a pool of resource persons within the Corps who cascaded the training to other key officers at their various state commands. This process empowered personnel to beknowledgeable about strategies for RC,able to follow the guidelines while carry out their assignments and able to embark on RC activities in their localities. This includes; Community Engagement meetings, Social media posts, Live Television and Radio shows. The NSCDC personnel also worked along with the NCDC rapid response teams in the states.
The NSCDC has been trained on COVID-19 RC and has been playing a significant role in carrying out RC activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has contributed to controlling the spread of the virus within underserved and security-challenged communities.
Keywords - Risk, Communication, Covid-19, Security