HomeDomesticOrientation workshop on role of media in polio eradication held

Orientation workshop on role of media in polio eradication held

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PESHAWAR, Jun 13 (APP): Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) organised a one-day orientation session on the role of media in polio eradication here in Abbottabad on Thursday.

The workshop focused on orienting the participants with increased programmatic knowledge and sensitising them on how to accurately report polio eradication efforts, counter misinformation and negative propaganda, enabling them to understand the significance of polio eradication and their critical role in achieving it.

The workshop was attended by Programme Manager UNICEF Dr Wisam Hazem, President Peshawar Press Club Arshad Aziz Malik, Ex-President PPC Muhammad Riaz, officials of UNICEF, WHO and EOC, senior journalists, bureau chiefs of various media channels and health beat reporters of different print and electronic media channels.

Addressing the inaugural session of the workshop, Dr Wisam Hazem said that journalists can shape public opinion through their reporting and that shaping public opinion in favour of polio vaccination can help us eradicate the polio virus. He said that UNICEF is providing its support in polio eradication in terms of vaccine procurement and community engagement activities to address community concerns, remove vaccine hesitancy, defuse boycotts and create a positive opinion in favour of polio vaccinations.

However, he added, the media can also play a key role in countering negative propaganda against these vaccines and removing the existing misconceptions and myths among the people.

Referring to the significance in his technical presentation on polio eradication, Provincial Disease Surveillance Officer WHO, Dr Nabeel Liaqat focused on the origin of poliovirus, its epidemiology, different types and vaccines as well as the significance of polio eradication through regular polio vaccination.

He sought media support in building community trust and changing the perception of the people towards vaccine acceptability so that this virus may be wiped out from the last endemic zone.

Communication Officer UNICEF, Shadab Younas while taking a session of external communications, focused on the significance of proper health reporting and explained that health reporting is essential for maintaining and improving public health. She added that by providing valuable insights into health trends and issues, health reporting helps in shaping effective public health strategies and necessary legislation in this regard.

Referring to polio reporting, she explained that polio reporting requires special skills and technical knowledge and stressed the participants to master their skills to ensure effective reporting.

Shadab appealed to the media to extend their support to convince the people who are hesitant towards polio vaccination through effective human angle stories, developing documentaries and bringing forth neutral and trusted voices to change the perception of the people.

Senior journalist and trainer, Safiullah Gul guided the participants on how to develop effective stories for print and electronic media which may touch the feelings of their respective audiences and lead to a change in positive behaviours towards public health.

Addressing the concluding session President Peshawar Press Club, Arshad Aziz Malik thanked EOC and UNICEF for organizing the orientation session for journalists.

Referring to the support of media for the national cause of polio eradication, he said that the presence of senior journalists, cabinet members of the press club as well as a large number of health-beat reporters of print and electronic media outlets are present in this workshop.

Arshad Aziz Malik stressed on the need for conducting capacity-building workshops for journalists and added that press club can extend technical support in this regard.

The orientation workshop proved to be a very insightful and interactive session and the participants suggested valuable inputs to further improve polio eradication efforts and ensure the eradication of this crippling disease once and for all.
The session concluded with distribution of shields and certificates among the participants.

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