Sunday, November 30, 2008

Asian Health Communications Forum

HAIN, in collaboration with Healthlink Worldwide, conducted a "Regional Forum on Increasing Access to Practical Health Information" last November 27-28, 2008 at the Bayview Park Hotel in Manila.

The forum aimed to examine the impact of Health Alert and learning from the magazine; identify issues and challenges faced in health communication and ways of addressing these; and to build networks or determining ways of linking with existing networks to continue learning and sharing.

At the forum, HAIN executive director, Dr. Edelina dela Paz, presented the curent health situation in the region. The 20 participants from Philippines, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and China have also exchanged insights and shared among each other their organizational and individual experiences in providing health information to the people.

The Health Alert Asia Pacific newsletter, published by HAIN since 2003, provides up-to-date, relevant and accurate health information for health, community and education workers in Asia and the Pacific. It is being distributed to more than 50 countries.

From the discussions, it showed that Health Alert has been utilized to brought some issues to the fore which might have been ignored otherwise. Obviously the issues would be relevant too to the Asia Pacific region, but it is also possible to relate
the issues happening in other parts of the world. Health Alert puts that in context.

Deepthi Wickermasinghe of Healthlink Worldwide (UK)discussed the new technologies in health communication which can be useful in our region. She also shared knowledge of the tools and online resources that they are using in London.

The session on country sharing highlighted the challenges faced by different organization, such as the difficulty of working simultaneously as an advocate and information provider, or the sustainability of a network.

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