According to the Brunei Times, the Ministry of Health recently ran a three-day workshop on social marketing as part of Brunei’s emphasis on prevention of diseases and its increased efforts to promote healthy living. Held at the Health Promotion Centre, Hjh Zahrah Dato Paduka Hj Hashim, Acting Director General of the Ministry of Health noted the timeliness of the event, given the Ministry’s current focus on seeking innovative ways of influencing people’s behaviours to reduce risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCD).
“We know that we have a hard task ahead of us as risk factors for NCDs such as smoking, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are difficult to change. As such, messages that are developed to target these behaviours need to be clear, emotive, hard-hitting even, and persuasive enough to elicit responses amongst our target audience so that they will want to do something to change their behaviours in a positive manner,” she said.
The workshop saw a total of 40 participants from health departments and the Institute of Health Sciences. It aimed to provide them with a foundation of knowledge and skills for creating social marketing plans for the Healthy Lifestyle Programme through lectures, discussions and group activities. Key to Brunei’s success will be longer term training and capacity building initiatives that include coaching, mentoring and tools to help participants improve their work.