Pak-Afghan journalists vow to contribute towards polio eradication
Islamabad: Journalists from Pakistan and Afghanistan Thursday pledged to contribute towards the fight against polio at the close of a three-day sensitisation and orientation workshop organised for them by Voice of America (VOA). The purpose of the training was to build the capacity of journalists covering polio related news stories and writing features on the subject.
The workshop was made possible with technical support from CDC, UNICEF and WHO provided the technical support for conducting this workshop. The workshop featured discussions on various issues related to the anti-polio programme; these ranged from vaccination and public awareness to the role of journalists and coverage of child health related issues.
Journalists from various media outlets of Afghanistan and Pakistan including VOA benefitted from the workshop.
A number of sessions were designed to promote understanding of the media coverage of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan; challenges, opportunities and strategies for covering polio news in Afghanistan and Pakistan; working in hostile environment; sensitizing parents, caregivers and communities to covert zero doze/missed children; accessing polio campaign data; confirming and reporting polio cases and polio related security incidents; changing stereotypes about polio in high-risk regions; audio/video profiling of polio survivors; success stories on combating polio in other countries/regions and contribution of media in the success; importance of audio-video dramas; and need for coverage of polio news on digital platforms.
VOA Ashna Radio team lead Ibrahim Rahimi said, “I wish, like the rest of the world, we also succeed in eradicating polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the near future. The media has important role in polio eradication efforts. In this training, we tried to develop skills of participating journalists so that they could prove effective once they are in field while reporting about anti-polio endeavors.”
One of the participating radio journalists from Radio Azadi Afghanistan, Khan Mohammad Seend shared, “Although we knew about the crippling disease of polio, but after this training workshop, we understood how important it is to eradicate it since polio virus could harm many. It is a common problem that needed to be tackled.”
Pashto drama writer Noor-ul-Basher Naveed, VOA Deewa Radio team lead Iftikhar Hussain, Dr. Ruhullah WHO Afghanistan, Mr. Qahar of CDC Afghanistan, Dr. M. Johar Khan UNICEF Peshawar, Communication Specialist UNICEF Ban Al Dhayi, Media Specialist UNICEF Saeed Ahmed, Media Officer UNICEF FATA Raheel Khan and Media Officer UNICEF KP Shadab Younus moderated and delivered sessions on different topics during the workshop.