Communication Strategy for the RHSWG

Access to sexual reproductive health (SRH) services and information is a fundamental human right. To exercise this right, populations in general and those vulnerable in particular must have access to comprehensive RH information and services to make free and informed choices. Quality SRH services must be based on the needs of the population. They must respect the religious beliefs, ethical values and cultural backgrounds of the community and individuals, while conforming to universally recognised international human rights standards. Research have demonstrated a positive impact of awareness and health promotion on attitudes and beliefs of people which can lead to improvements in health outcomes through adopting healthy behaviors and practices.

Access to SRH services can be hindered due to many factors including but not exclusive to socio-cultural barriers, poorly informed persons, service providers’ attitudes, absence of relevant services, unaffordability to pay for the services, lack of information about the services. For years, health promotion interventions depended to a great extent on a mix of various Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) approaches and tools. Acknowledging the importance of IEC to reinforce knowledge and education on particular topics, the latter cannot achieve change as a stand-alone intervention, but usually should be part of a comprehensive behavioral change and communication (BCC) strategy that includes multiple interventions, approaches, channels and tools.

In Lebanon, the Reproductive Health Sub-Working Group (RHSWG) has been operational since 2013 under the Health Working Group and within the coordination mechanism established in support of the Humanitarian Response to the Syria crisis. The RHSWG is chaired by UNFPA and is a platform for enhanced coordination, knowledge sharing, addressing urgent needs and priorities, and strategizing for joint programming.

To reinforce the efficiency of the RHSWG, MIRROS was awarded a bid to develop an action-oriented Reproductive Health communication strategy that is essential for guiding the RHSWG and other stakeholders in designing programs and interventions that positively influence attitudes and practices and increase health seeking behaviours.