Workshop on media role in eradicating polio held

Barkatullah Marwat 

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Media play a pivotal role in shaping public opinion and its support is absolutely vital in educating people on the importance of essential immunization services of the government that help protect children from vaccine preventable diseases and significantly bring down morbidity and mortality ratios. Baseless propagandas and linking polio with other demands have created hurdles in polio eradication and put the health of our children at stake.

This was stated by Additional Secretary Health (Polio) & Coordinator Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Abdul Basit here on Tuesday at a local hotel while addressing media orientation workshop for journalists based in Bannu division.

Technical Focal Person EOC Dr Imtiaz Ali Shah, National Professional Officer WHO Dr Sarfaraz Khan Afridi, Team Lead UNICEF Dr Andrew Etsano and journalists from Bannu, Lakki Marwat and North Waziristan were also present on the occasion.

Coordinator EOC Abdul Basit said that unfortunately Bannu division was the hardest hit by polio with frequent outbreaks of the disease that had paralyzed 80 children in 2019 and 2020 so far making it 69 percent of the total provincial case, adding that in 2020 so far, Bannu division had reported 15 polio cases out of the 22 polio cases in the province making it 68 percent of the total provincial case count.

He stated that it was high time to understand that vaccination of every child under five in every campaign was the only solution of the problem and parents should help the teams by allowing vaccination of their children in every campaign to wipe out the scourge from the region. He also urged the media to address community misconceptions related to polio vaccination by highlighting miseries of the polio victims.

“Some communities in the southern belt of the province are resisting to polio vaccination due to various misleading propagandas and are causing the spread of virus,” Coordinator EOC said, adding that well-informed media reports on health issues would address the misconceptions and help the government to reach the finishing line.

Meanwhile, a detailed question-answer session and group work were also conducted wherein the journalists asked various questions related to polio and shared their valuable inputs for improving immunization services in the province. Later, certificates were distributed among the participants with the vote of thanks by Coordinator EOC and organizers of the event.

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