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April 22, 2016
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Radio jockeys to spread the word on routine immunisation

Islamabad

April 22, 2016

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Islamabad

Over 32 radio jockeys of private FM radio stations gathered in the capital Thursday for a first-of-its kind brainstorming and hands-on orientation session on Routine Immunisation (RI) for radio professionals.

The initiative, which was led by the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in collaboration with Think Tank, brought together Pakistan’s top FM players for the common cause of saving children’s lives from vaccine preventable diseases. Organized as part of World Immunization Week (April 24-30) commemoration package, the session focused on how radio’s unparalleled reach and dedicated listenership could be leveraged to highlight the importance of vaccines for saving Pakistani children’s lives.

Expressing his views, the national programme manager of EPI Dr. Saqlain Gilani said, “FM radio can play a significant role in promoting important social issues while weaving them in regular programming.” Dr. Gilani presented a comprehensive overview of EPI, as well as insights into recent developments, achievements, constraints and milestones to be achieved. Frequently answered questions on the 9 vaccine preventable diseases and all aspects of routine immunization were also highlighted so that the RJs are equipped with enough information for upcoming programmes scheduled during WIW 2016.

Dr. Saqlain also shared the salient achievements of the programme. Under EPI, children are being protected against nine diseases through vaccination services; the introduction of rotavirus vaccine for diarrhea is also on the cards. Currently, over 5 million children are being immunised against 9 vaccine preventable diseases while over 6 million pregnant mothers are being immunised against Tetanus. Unfortunately, parents in Pakistan still do not view immunisation as a right of their children, resulting in poor utilization of immunisation services. As such, all direct and indirect stakeholders need to play a role to increase coverage and the percentage of the fully immunized children, and radio is by all means a very potential platform.

Huma Khawar, one of the facilitators at the workshop, emphasized that radio has always been an effective platform to disseminate information on social issues.

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