CBM’s partner ECWA Eye hospital in Kano in Northern Nigeria has been providing comprehensive eye care services for over 60 years but only through the recent SiB programme have they started extensive public awareness. “We have not been involved in public awareness of this magnitude before and have not gone out in the community like we have over the past 3 years since the support from Seeing is Believing started” said Dr Abuh, Medical Director of ECWA Eye hospital.
The ECWA team, in collaboration with various partners who provided communication and marketing expertise, developed several types of Information Education Communication (IEC) materials with different functions and target audiences, including posters, flyers but also radio announcements and a tv drama.
One of the most successful components of the awareness raising was the street campaigns which were carried out using a truck carrying large posters and playing jingles to attract initial attention but most importantly followed by extensive outreach work by a team of specialist outreach workers distributing hand bills and discussing with community members about eye health. A senior member from ECWA participated in each of the street awareness campaigns.
Through the street campaigns, ECWA Eye Hospital was able to not only increase their reach geographically but also to reach out to the poorest members of the community. The awareness raising translated in a significant increase of patient uptake and through numerous outreach camps ECWA Eye Hospital was able to provide quality eye health interventions in the poorest communities.
Dr Abuh mentions that “As a result of the awareness campaigns and the outreach camps, we are recognized by the community and new relationships have been developed, including financial support from individuals and corporate donors for free surgeries for people who can’t afford them”.
According to Dr Abuh, in the context of the insecurities in Northern Nigeria, the increased recognitions of ECWA’s work and commitment to the wellbeing of the local communities has been central to their capacity to continue to work as a Christian Hospital. “Our hospital has not suffered any attack to this day and I believe it is because people know the kind of service we provide to the community and our support to the poor. Our image before the community is our biggest support for sustainability and protection. The Seeing is Believing funding really helped us to reach out and achieve this”
Programme Manager – West/Central Africa & Latin America, CBM UK [email protected]