Media urged to cover health issues -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Media urged to cover health issues

KARACHI (PPI) – Media was urged to give health-related stories adequate coverage, so as to make the country free of dangerous diseases like polio.

This was stated in a media workshop titled “Rethinking Journalism”, organized by Unicef at a local hotel on Tuesday. Many representatives from renowned media organizations attended the workshop.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) representative Aaamerkhan in his lecture emphasized upon the media to play its due role for eradicating the various diseases from the society.

He said that in Pakistan, polio immunization campaign, first began when Benazir;Bhutto was the Prime Minister. He said she began the campaign by administrating polio drops to her daughter Bakhtawar.

He said now if such pictures were published and broadcast through media it would inspire the people, who are reluctant to get vaccinated their children.

He said that people oppose drive against polio in some parts of the country like Swat, Wazirstan, Mansehra and the tribal areas, because their religious scholars were suspicious of anti-polio drive. He said a local religious scholar Maulana Fazlullah of Swat valley, had used his FM radio against the polio campaign. He claimed in later stages, the followers of Maulana Fazlullah started to abduct the Anti-Polio volunteers.

He said that Pakistani media is giving more importance to news regarding politics, military operations in Wazirstan, Swat and Baluchistan than health-related stories.
He said that media should give priority to health, education and other social issues as compared to current affairs. He said that in Pakistan, media is still following the commercialism and not playing a constructive role.

Mazhar Nisar, a health education officer of the health ministry, said that some parents had fear of side-effects by Oral Polio vaccine (OPV). He claimed that through propaganda, the parents are being scared by terming anti polio vaccine, a sub-standard medicine, which could affect their children badly. He rejecting the perception, said there are no side effects of anti-Polio vaccine, as it is not a sub-standard vaccine.

He said that OPV is being used in the global polio eradication efforts.

He said that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Egypt, and Yemen are all using the exact same vaccine as is being used in Pakistan in their polio eradication and routine immunization programs.

He said that during every national immunization day (NID), nearly 32 million children under the age of five years received OPV, however, during the campaigns; there are still 5-10 percent of children being missed. He stressed on need of involving everyone in society in eradication of polio and other diseases affecting people of this country.

Source: The Nation
Date:2/27/2008