IntroductionJordan is on the verge of a quantum leap in its development process. Under the forward looking leadership of its new King and Queen, Jordan is decentralizing its national government and expanding democratic participation, creating a vibrant and active private sector, and becoming a regional leader in public access to and use of information technologies for social development. In the health field, priorities are shifting toward greater attention to family health and preventive health behaviors related to lifestyle diseases. To address this epidemiological transition, the nation is developing a long-term national health strategy.
Assessment of existing research and organizational activities in Jordan indicates that the overall picture is one of political commitment, historically strong programs with some audiences and health issues, and good infrastructure and human resources. In short, Jordan is poised for dramatic improvements in health if the new program can be mobilized to take advantage of the moment. However, there are gaps in specific content areas, in communication skills, and in coordination among health programs and across sectors on health-related efforts that could prevent this potential from being realized. These gaps need to be addressed quickly by an integrated, visionary, long-term strategic communication partnership.
The Communication Partnership for Family Health (CPFH), established to address this challenge, is composed of core partners from the higher councils and from the public, NGO and private sectors. Partner organizations represent a range of stakeholders, focusing on those with strongest capacity. These include organizations with national policy and advisory mandates, organizations with service networks in the field, organizations involved in media and the commercial sectors, and Cooperating Agencies (CAs) and other organizations active in the field of health in Jordan that are supported by USAID. The Partnership aims to develop and implement an integrated comprehensive strategic Behavioral Change Communication (BCC) program for the upcoming five years, as detailed in this National Health Communication Strategy (NHCS) document. The program will promote health competence communication across sectors, using a life stage segmentation approach. This five year program will have the technical support of the Global Health Communication Partnership based at the Center for Communication Programs of the Johns Hopkins University and the support of USAID.
This National Communication Strategy is intended to be a useful, living document that members of the CPFH, the TAG and other stakeholders can use to plan and coordinate communication activities. The strategy can and will be adapted if needed – if, for example, program research indicates a need for new directions or priorities.
Participatory Planning Process
In order to develop a strategy that reflects the contributions of all sectors, a four stage participatory planning process is being pursued. First, representatives of Cooperating Agencies gathered at a Participatory Planning Meeting, which resulted in a plan of action that eliminated redundant activities and highlighted areas of potential collaboration. Second, a Strategy Design Workshop was held with representatives from all sectors to identify priority health issues for the country. Third, a Message Development Workshop was convened with all sectors to develop key message concepts for each of the health priorities. Finally, a Technical Advisory Group TAG was formed from representatives from all the partners to oversee and monitor the various components of the program. Members of the TAG were divided into smaller task forces TF to participate in the planning & implementation processes of the various components of the program.