PESHAWAR: Speakers at a workshop have urged journalists to help in removing misconceptions among people about essential immunisation.

The daylong orientation session for journalists was arranged in Abbottabad on Monday to impart understanding of health issues for

informed reporting that help to address community misconceptions about essential immunisation.

In the opening remarks, the coordinator of emergency operation centre, Abdul Basit said that it was important to disseminate correct and authentic information effectively through media.

He said that it was important to establish effective liaison with community and media and provide fact-based PEI related information to journalists.

He urged participants to own the national cause and contribute stories, columns and features that build confidence and trust of public in vaccination.

EOC technical focal person Dr Imtiaz Ali Shah talked about global polio eradication initiative (GPEI), polio structures, national and regional polio updates, operational and communication challenges.

The national professional officer of World Health Organisation, Dr Sarfaraz Afridi briefed the participants about poliomyelitis, types and virus strains, history of disease, types of polio vaccines, vaccine safety and efficacy, repeated doses and requisites for certification of the last endemic region.

Senior journalist Mehmood Jan Babar discussed various tools and tips for authentic reporting, current media trends and impact of misreporting with specific reference to health reporting.

Ejaz ur Rehman, the communication for development officer, spoke about cross border synergy and the need for new harmonised communication plan that would help in overcoming remaining challenges in the last endemic region of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Unicef communication officer Shadab Younas talked about story ideas, media tonality and misinformation effects on public perceptions.

She said that journalists being ears and eyes of the society should ensure accurate information in their stories as they were the opinion makers and played vital role in shaping public mindset.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2021

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