Dr. Olayinka Umar-Farouk is a medical doctor and public health specialist with keen interest in healthcare management & reforms, health literacy, integrated service delivery & access, with bias for child health and gender equity. She has over fourteen years’ experience in the public, private and non-for-profit sectors in Nigeria.
She works as the Deputy Project Director, Risk Communications with USAID Breakthrough ACTION Nigeria (BA-N), a social behaviour change project that is focused on adopting innovative approaches such as human centred design, behaviour economics, digital health, and strategic community engagement to guide multi-pronged coordinated interventions to address sociocultural, gender and norms that underpin health care seeking behaviour and practices.
She is currently providing technical assistance to the Government of Nigeria on COVID19 Response, focusing on Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE). In this effort she has used digital approaches to improve health literacy, education, and communication for community health workers and other stakeholders. She presented “Reinforcing COVID-19 Risk Communication and Community Engagement Response in Nigeria through Mobile Curriculum” at the 2020 Global Health Digital Forum. She was recognized for her dedication to nation building and child health by the Federal Ministry of Health with the award “Outstanding dedication and support for scale up of chlorhexidine in Nigeria”. She is recognized as a team player as has been awarded – Most Valuable Player by two organizations she has worked previously for.
Even though she dislikes driving, she’s committed to actively searching for innovation and spreading successful approaches that will improve health literacy and bring about better health outcomes. She is passionate about advocating for a shift in the way we address global health challenges; “making individual, families and communities as the centre of the approach will encourage participation, ownership and drive that will lead to the desired change”. Her recent co-authored publication “Responding to a Pandemic through Social and Behavior Change Communication: Nigeria’s Experience” https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/hs.2020.0151; alludes to the importance of engaging community members in the planning and implementation of SBCC programs to achieve positive behavioral change outcomes.