COVID-19 has led to the suspension of many public health interventions in Cameroon, while preventive measures including behaviour change communication have been ongoing since the onset of the pandemic.
This exploratory qualitative study was conducted in September to October 2020 using semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with nomadic camp heads, and their wives, to explore their interactions with communication campaigns, awareness, understanding and acceptance of behaviour change messages.
The study revealed a general awareness of COVID-19 and its preventive measures and a prevailing belief that they were less at risk because their camps are isolated from the main communities, and the fact that they had never met a COVID-19 case. They perceived that the women were at lower risk because of their limited interaction outside the camps. There was a common concern regarding the transmission of COVID-19 to their cattle. Routes of communication were markets and mosques frequented by men, making access to information limited to or dependent on men. Financial constraints and lack of water were the main barriers affecting the access to and use of COVID-19 prevention measures.
There is need for adaptive communication strategies especially tailored to the culture of nomadic pastoralists addressing gender dynamics of this subgroup.