UNICEF-IGNOU discuss immunisation project with health editors
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) discussed their partnership project on Routine Immunisation as a part of Global Immunisation week, with health editors of national and state media here on Thursday.
Speaking during the meet, Public Health Expert & Deputy Commissioner of Ministry of Heath and Family Welfare department, Dr. Ajay Khera said full immunisation coverage in India is 61%, which is over 90% in some of our neighbour countries. “Major reason behind abysmal immunisation coverage is the information gap. It could even be understanding phobia of adverse events after immunisation which should be addressed. If we can fill these gaps we will be able to make a major change.”
While giving his presentation on National Immunisation Program in India, he said, “We give vaccines against seven vaccines preventable diseases, but some of the countries are giving vaccines against as much as 20 vaccine preventable diseases.”
“To intensify immunisation the government has declared year 2012, the year of intensification for immunisation,” he added.
Dr. Henri van den Hmobergh, Chief of Health, UNICEF said, “One of the most important part of routine immunisation is to follow a routine and we need media to help continue that routine, if demand side is strong, supply side will also be strong and media should be the voice of the demand side.”
The editors present in the meet raised issues related to immunisation and suggested several ways to improve routine immunisation and fill the information gap. Chief Editor of IANS Tarun Basu raised the issues of information gap and regulation of health reporting and suggested ways such as new media, sms, citizen journalism to reach out to people.
Radio can be an effective and cheap medium to disseminate information suggested Mark Tully, Former Bureau chief of BBC India. He also referred to BBC World Service Trusts' leprosy elimination campaign and said that rotary can do good work for the Routine Immunisation campaign.
The role of soap operas, importance of health workers, direct communication, branding of the campaign, building trust among the people, focusing on the target group, Improving delivery system, involvement of women, making social and religious connect and long term planning to reach out to people were some of the other points raised by the panelists present in the meeting.
IGNOU and UNICEF also recognised the journalists associated with them, for their contribution and awarded certificates of recognition to them.