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Health Communication Training for Students and Lecturers

According to the government daily situation reports on the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia, more than one million people were identified as infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, resulting in over forty-thousand deaths as of April 2021 (Government of Indonesia, Indonesia COVID-19 Distribution Map,, April 4, 2021). To contain the pandemic and protect the citizens from further transmission, the government issued various regulations and guidelines. The first regulation, issued on March 31, 2020, required the closure of schools, many workplaces, banned mass gatherings, socio-cultural activities, among other restrictions. The regulation was then modified on February 9, 2021, to mandate working, learning, worship, and other daily activities from home. With limited movement of people, online communication has become crucial for delivering health and risk communication messages to the public. The challenge to reach different kinds of audiences that vary in their level of knowledge regarding how to protect themselves, and in their ability to understand how old habits and other behavior could cause more infections has driven INDOHUN to train health influencers.

Health Influencers are those who have the reputation, knowledge, and expertise to responsibly guide and encourage people to follow safe practices in this time. One potential type of health influencer, university lecturers, can produce social media posts regarding best practices based on research. However, many lecturers are not likely to have laymen terminology, concepts of digital communication and the understanding of audiences’ socio-cultural background and local wisdom.

To narrow this gap, INDOHUN with the support from the USAID One Health Workforce Next Generation and the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Higher Education, conducted three batches of health communication training. This training aimed to enhance the lecturers’ digital communication skills in constructing scientific yet audience-friendly digital communication materials on health, particularly to effectively communicate pandemic-relevant information to online audiences based on their local wisdom. The two-day online training offered additional tools to the participants who are already active on social media yet have no formal communication training. Knowing audiences and their socio-cultural background better to be able to share a targeted message is particularly relevant for social media platforms. INDOHUN demonstrated effective and good communication between the trainer, facilitator, moderator, and the participants by using the blended learning method combining one-way presentation, active discussion, role play, and workshop experiences around making good communication materials.

This online training gained lot of positive feedback on the delivery and content. As one participants stated in the training evaluation feedback form, “This training provides new knowledge for us who do not have a background in communication to be able to make better public service messages. [It showed] How does the message made by us deliver to the recipient without any change in meaning due to false interpretation.” With this training, INDOHUN is paving the way for more health influencers to reach the public on risk-awareness and prevention.


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