CDB, PAHO partner to launch disaster campaign

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CANA reports that the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Wednesday launched its ““Stronger Together” campaign as part of the psychosocial support for the region in the event of a disaster.

They said the campaign draws attention to the information and tools available to assist communities in better coping with the psychological impact of adverse events.

“In the Caribbean, most disaster response communication material focuses on ensuring that people recognize storm warnings, know where to go for assistance and have prepared their homes. However, few communication campaigns or products help people build resilience to cope with the impacts of disasters. This campaign aims to fill that gap,” said Jessie Schutt-Aine, PAHO Subregional Programme Coordinator, Caribbean.

CDB Vice President, Monica La Bennett, said the campaign is intended to spread the message of cooperation in building resilience to natural disasters.

“We have to be prepared now to cope tomorrow. Strengthening social and individual resilience is essential in any response to disasters. Building back better after a disaster, means building back with resilience,” she added.

“Stronger Together” will also tackle the stigma associated with seeking mental health and psychosocial support. It will put a special focus on vulnerable people, such as children and adolescents, women, older persons, or persons with disabilities.

“ In addition, the gender-sensitive campaign addresses issues related to the different roles that men and women have in the family and the community, a possible rise in gender-based violence following disasters, and gender differences when accessing health services,” the CDB said in a statement.

The campaign is part of a PAHO/ CBD initiative to train 16 psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers in mental health and psychosocial support in the aftermath of the devastating 2017 hurricane season, creating a roster of health professionals from which PAHO can mobilise resources to affected countries in an emergency.

The awareness campaign will run until October 2019 and includes an illustrated booklet on psychological first aid; public service announcements for video and radio; video testimonials, and a radio jingle to be broadcast across the Caribbean region.

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