Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in partnership with UNICEF hosted a communication awareness workshop for representatives of Community Radio Stations from 16 States. The thematic session highlighted the need to create meaningful awareness campaigns about COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) and bust myths surrounding COVID vaccines & vaccination particularly among communities residing in remote and difficult to reach areas in the country.
The session was addressed by Shri Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry. The Joint Secretary in his opening remarks acknowledged the contribution of Community Radio Stations (CRS) in supporting the world’s largest vaccination drive andnoted that sustained efforts of CRS by airing informative programs on COVID vaccination for their discerning listeners is reflected in increased community participation in the ongoing vaccination drive for adults.
CRS programs in regional language aimed at educating communities about importance of Covid Appropriate Behaviour, addressing myths & misinformation linked to vaccines and creating awareness on vaccination progress is resulting in uptake of vaccination among many tribal districts of India.
Community Radio Stations were urged to highlight community led positive initiatives and role models to strengthen vaccine trust among communities that they cater to. The issue of mental health linked to COVID was also focused upon. The collective responsibility to address mental health issues among communities through informative programming by engaging with subject experts from State and National level,was stressed.
CRSs were asked to continuously remind listeners about the need to strictly follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour as the second wave is still not over: the virus can strike back as soon society ignores health advisory and lowers its guard against COVID safety protocol. Participants from CRS were encouraged to produce innovative programs and create a Jan Andolan (Public Movement) by featuring and acknowledging community role- models.
Participants shared their experiences of interaction with the audiences and how they allayed their apprehensions, concerns about COVID vaccines and motivated them to Get Vaccinated. The Jt Secy, Union Health Ministry answered their various queries and applauded their continued support to widen the net of authentic information in the regions.