In Nepal, health communication program began with the starting of promotive and preventive health services through the establishment of vector borne disease control unit in 1957. The establishment of Health Education Section in 1961 was a second step in the process of institutionalization of health communication program in Nepal. National Health Policy 1991 introduced after the restoration of democracy in the country and health system restructuring process made in 1993. In between 1961-1993 periods, various health projects had their own communication units in their projects and divisions. By making revision and improvement on separate health communication units of those vertical projects and divisions, National Health Education, Information and Communication Centre (NHEICC) was established under the Department of Health Services (DoHS) in 1993 during the restructuring process as a focal point of Ministry of Health and Population for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health promotion and communication programs of all health programs and services in an integrated manner.
All over again, Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) improved its structure in 2002 and NHEICC went under the direct supervision of MoHP. This process gave an additional mandate to support for health promotion, education and communication to Department of Drug Administration (DoDA) and Department of Ayurveda (DoA) including DoHS. The organization structure and staff pattern of NHEICC remained the same in this process. NHEICC use region, district and community health system network to implement health promotion, education and communication activities.
All of the districts health offices have health education, information and communication programs since 1993. There is health education and Health Institution Development Section in the Regional Health Directorates, Training and Health Information Section in the District Health/Public Health Offices. These sections implement health promotion and education and health communication activities utilizing various media and methods according to the needs of the local people in the region, district and community. Local media and languages are used in the district and community for the dissemination of health messages so that people can understand health messages clearly in their local context and language. So, NHEICC not only develop, produce and disseminate IEC/BCC materials but also plan, implement, monitor and evaluate all health promotion and education and health communication programs.
“National Health Communication Policy, 2012” has been endorsed by the cabinet, which is the milestone for health promotion, education and communication program. It is a document of high commitment and priority of government for health promotion, education and communication program in the health sector. This policy also gave a mandate to NHEICC for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health promotion, education and health communication program of all health services and program of all 3 departments under the ministry of health and population. Developing, producing and disseminating health messages and materials to promote and support health programs and services in an integrated manner is part of the responsibility. It, also, regulates the health messages produced and disseminated by other partner organizations and stakeholders through the media.
In the same way, health promotion, education and health communication programs are supporting and cross cutting issues and programs for other public health programs and services. Advocacy, community mobilization and behavior change communication have been adopted as main strategies for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programs of all health services and programs at different levels in an integrated approach and through one door system. So, NHEICC supports all 3 divisions to plan, implement, and monitor and evaluate all health promotion and education and health communication programs including developing, producing and disseminating IEC/BCC materials.