Jabbar stresses effective use of media for promoting health awareness
ISLAMABAD- Chief Executive’s Adviser on Information and National Affairs Javed Jabbar underlined the need for effective use of media in creating awareness about healthcare in the country. “The media and health are closely linked and proper use of media is vital to create public awareness about healthcare,” he said while addressing a seminar on the “role of media and medicines in the new millennium.” The seminar was organised by Shifa International Hospitals.
Jabbar said the media should encourage specialised reporting in the health sector as is being done in the fields of sports, economic and defence. He said media has played an important role in creating mass awareness in Pakistan and cited countryside Extended Programme of Immnunisation (EPI) launched in the 1980s to promote public awareness about child-related diseases.
“The campaign was launched in a very simple way and some 30 to 35 per cent result were achieved in the first year.” He said the international organisation like Unicef and WHO had appreciated Pakistan’s notable achievement in this respect. Jabbar regretted that the health sector in Pakistan has become hostage to commercialisation. “You will find a Jumma Bazar of pharmaceutical companies at a medical-related seminar.” “I don’t want to sound as an anti-investment person and 1 am not targeting pharmaceutical companies.” However, he said, this tendency needs to be regulated.
He lamented that there has been mushroom growth of retail medicine shops in the country, “It is a terrible danger and we should regulate this business.” He said, “I am not shrugging off the government’s responsibility in this respect. We need to regulate this business.”
He said the government is pursuing a liberal media policy and intends to allow private television and radio channels in the country. Unlike the past, he assured that licences for private television and radio stations would be given in a transparent manner.
He said Pakistan with a population of about 130 million, has only 27 radio stations as against 1,600 radio stations working in Turkey with a population of only 60 million people. Jabbar said the Pakistani nation is confronted with tremendous challenges. “We are facing numerous challenges. But we are confident that we have the capability to counter these challenges.”
Syed Anwar Mehmood, director general of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) in his presentation said Radio Pakistan was ready to allocate 5 to 10 minutes exclusively for health related programmes. Irshad Ahmed Haqqani of Jang Group of Newspapers, Dr Zaheer Ahmed of Shifa International Hospitals and several others also on the occasion.
Source: The News