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Radio Jockeys become child survivors

ISLAMABAD, APR 21 (DNA) – Over 32 Radio jockeys of private FM radio stations gathered in the capital today for a first-of-its kind brainstorming and hands-on orientation session on Routine Immunization (RI) for radio professionals.

The initiative was led by The Expanded Program on Immunization, Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination in collaboration with Think Tank Media Consultants.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr.SoofiaYunus, Deputy Director Training, EPI said, “FM radio can play a significant role in promoting important social issues while weaving them in regular programming.”

Dr. Yunus shared a comprehensive overview of the Expanded Program on Immunization Pakistan with the participants. Additionally she presented the insight to the recent developments, achievements, constraints and milestones to be achieved. FAQs on the 9 Vaccine Preventable Diseases and all aspects of Routine Immunization were also highlighted so that the RJs are equipped with enough information so that they can injectinto the community during their upcoming programmes scheduled during the WIW, 2016.

Dr. Saqlain Ahmad Gilani, National Program Manager, EPI shared the salient achievement of the program. Under the Expanded Programme of Immunization, Government of Pakistan is providing vaccination services against 9 diseases while introduction of rotavirus vaccine, for diarrhea is on the cards. Currently over 5 million children are being immunized against 9 vaccine preventable diseases while over 6 million pregnant mothers are being immunized against Tetanus.

Unfortunately parents in Pakistan still do not view immunization as a right of their children resulting in poor utilization of immunization services made available by the Government therefore all direct and indirect stakeholder needs to play their role to increase the coverage and the percentage of the Fully Immunized Child and Radio is by all means a very potential platform.

Ms. HumaKhawar, free lance writer and facilitator at the Workshopemphasized that radio has always been an effective platform to disseminate information on social issues. However, its potential is still under utilized especially with reference to demand generation on Routine Immunization. RJs, she said can play a very important role in demand generation around immunization.

Referring to the title of this year’s World Immunization Week — Close the Immunization Gap, she saidEPI is leveraging the strengths of FM radio to ensure a sustained discourse on immunizationaiming to increase equitable vaccination coverage.Ms. Khawar added “As part of our media engagement, we realize the importance of engaging with radio as it has enabled us to reach key messages to audiences across the country.”Therefore we are keeping our fingers crossed and through this orientation session we anticipate a multiplier effect in terms of awareness creation amongst the masses.

MsSufiaShahid, a television and radio anchor and news caster shared her experience on utilizing the air time for public service messages. Giving examples, she motivated the RJs on their social responsibility and the role they can play by using this important medium to its fullest

A media tool kit on World Immunization Week containing various documents on the importance of routine immunization, commemoration of World Immunization Week and Expanded Program on Immunization were distributed at the end of workshop. =DNA

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