Concept and slogans for communicating health advocacy/tools and materials as it affect health information management

Introduction
Advocacy
in health information management and health promotion is the active support of
an idea or cause expressed through strategies and methods that influence the
opinions and decisions of people and organisations. In health care management,
promotion and developmental context the aims of advocacy are to create or
change policies, laws, regulations, distribution of resources or other
decisions that affect people’s lives and to ensure that such decisions lead to
implementation.

Such
advocacy is generally directed at policy makers including politicians,
government officials and public servants, but also private sector leaders whose
decisions impact upon peoples’ lives, as well as those whose opinions and
actions influence policy makers, such as journalists and the media, development
agencies and large NGOs.
The
body
In
carrying out health advocacy, careful planning and a strategic approach are
therefore needed if results are to be achieved. Policy change rarely happens
overnight so effective advocacy requires long-term as well as short-term
thinking, an understanding of the points of resistance and the means to gain
traction, the readiness to form alliances, and the flexibility to seize windows
of opportunity.
Some
of the more commonly used advocacy techniques, from critical engagement such as
policy monitoring and policy dialogue is to highlights the importance for
people facing disadvantage to be able to assert their own needs and interests.
It explains step by step how to devise an effective advocacy strategy for
health care policy reform.   
Some techniques for effective advocacy in health
information management include:
Policy monitoring and
public accountability
All
effective health care policy-related advocacy efforts commence with observation
and monitoring of the implementation and effectiveness of policies already in
place. These might include, for example, commitments to health care
infrastructure roll-out, universal access policies, support for community-based
health care centres, public interest broadcasting policies, or regulatory
mechanisms to ensure fair pricing of services.
Policy dialogue – health care and mainstream
development policy
Policy
monitoring alone may prompt corrections to policy failure or lead to improved
policy implementation, but most civil society groups concerned with health care
policy also carry their own ideas about what policies are desirable. They are
interested in gaining influence earlier in the policy-making process. At its
most straightforward this involves engagement in policy dialogue with policy
makers
Campaigns for policy change
The
goal is call for a change on national law facilitating health care policies. Civil
society campaigns for policy change rarely achieve rapid results. They require
patience, tenacity, courage and conviction. There is no sure way for success,
but there are some common denominators to almost all successful advocacy
campaigns. It is essential, for instance, to maintain clarity in
communications: goals should be clear and achievable; messages should be
compelling for those to whom they are intended; calls to action should be
specific and concise. Good planning and organisation must combine with the
ability to mobilise broad coalitions of public and political support towards a
common goal.
Building the advocacy
capacity of stakeholder groups
In
health care issues, poor people face systemic barriers in their access to health
care services and in their means to exercise their right to freedom of
expression. The lack of “voice” of disadvantaged groups is a challenge and call
for advocacy for equitable access to health care services. At the same time, it
compromises the ability of disadvantaged people themselves to advocate for
their own health care needs.
Tools and materials for advocacy in health
information management
Mass media
The mass media is due to its vast coverage is a
strong tool for advocacy in health promotion and development, the tools
available in carrying out advocacy through the mass media include  channels such as radio, television, video,
films and newspapers. Radio is one of the most popular and widely acceptable
ways of carrying out advocacy as well as television.
The mass media can reach many people quickly and at
the same time. Reaching everyone in a district, for example, in a short time is
not possible mobilize the community for advocacy in health promotion. Mass
media are generally credible sources of information, can provide continuing
reminders and reinforcement of messages to encourage maintenance of advocacy
and can be useful for raising awareness and bringing the new ideas to people’s
attention.
In carrying out health promotion advocacy, the mass
media can also be used to build positive public opinion for behaviour change by
increasing knowledge or providing a forum for debate or creating debate and to
mobilise people.  For example, local
radio stations can be used to carry out advocacy activities, through
interviews, announcements, and district newspapers can also be utilised to
promote issues and ideas and encourage debate.
Some types of mass media tools that are more useful
for some target groups than others. For example, television, radio, music and
videos, comics and games may be more effective for young people than newspaper
articles and leaflets. Similarly, for rural women it may be more appropriate to
use radio, video or traditional media than leaflets or billboards.       Different
materials and media are also useful at different stages of the behaviour change
process. For example, radio and leaflets may be useful to raise awareness and
increase knowledge, but role play may be more appropriate for developing
assertiveness skills.
Printed Materials and Pictorial
Illustrations
The printed materials and pictorial illustrations
are great tools for carrying out advocacy in health promotion. The use of
printed such as posters, billboards, leaflets, booklets, comics, flannel graph,
slides, photographs, bulletin board, banners, displays, fairs and exhibition.
Target groups, such as women, schoolchildren and young people could be
encouraged to develop and produce their own materials or at least to be
involved in developing concepts and illustrations. Drawings on the wall of
popular buildings, stores and meeting places can also be effective. The use of
printed materials and pictorial illustrations create a mental picture of the purpose
of the advocacy and this encourages people to be actively involved in the
advocacy process.
Traditional
method
The Traditional method of advocacy is one of the
most appealing ways to raise an advocacy in a rural setting. This involve using
are ways in which communities have always shared and passed information often
from one generation to the next and usually through the spoken word or visual
art. Traditional methods for carrying out advocacy include storytelling, drama,
fables, songs, poems and proverbs, town criers, special festive days, concerts,
puppet shows and other visual arts such as painting, carving and pottery
figures can be very effective way in carrying out advocacy.
Advocacy involving issues affecting the day to day
lives of a group of people is best carried out using the traditional method of
advocacy. These issues include matters that bother on issues such as marriages,
religion, health and disease, family life, power and authority, conflicts and
communal living. In carrying out advocacy, it is advisable to look out for traditional
and popular method to mobilize the people. The organizer of the advocacy
programme should identify those involved, brief them about the activities and
work with them to put the method of advocacy together. 
Conclusion
In carrying out advocacy in health care management
and promotion, the effectiveness of the tools or material used to a large
extent determine the effectiveness of the of the advocacy process. The class of
people in which the advocacy programme is meant for must be put under
consideration in the planning and execution of the advocacy process. To be
successful, careful planning and monitoring is very important.
References
Narayan, D. (2000). Voices of the Poor: Volume 1: Can Anyone Hear Us?
Washington: World Bank.
Pavarala, V. & Kanchan, K. (2007). Other Voices: The Struggle for
Community Radio in India.  New Delhi: Sage Publishing Company.
Rose, C. (2001). How to win campaigns: 100 steps to success London:
Earthscan Press.
Sprechman, S. & Emily, P. (2001). Advocacy Tools and Guidelines:
Promoting Policy Change. Atlanta: CARE
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