By Suprava Dash
In this supersonic jet age when everything is changing at an accelerated speed, the catastrophic death toll of a new born baby, of a mother suffering from malnutrition and others due to such health factors are causes of great concern.
Thanks to Unicef there has come a whiff of fresh air in the form of an effort, the Workshop, which can be called a harbinger of relief with the bold determination of making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) a success after our failure in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015. This effort also attempts to identify the root cause and come up with a solution. It understood that education leading to the awareness is the need of the hour and so came up with a suitable training programme to train the health journalists, realizing the fact that media can play a major role in bridging the gap and educate the masses about the true facts and eradicate the myths from people’s mind.
In a nutshell this 3-day workshop focused on the following important aspects: -
1. About the core health issues such as immunization and nutrition for both mother and child , adequate care during adolescence and then also during pregnancy, the necessity of mother’s breastfeeding for an infant in the very first hour of birth and then exclusively mother’s milk up to first six months of the age of the child when even water should not be given additionally, likely complications during pregnancy, infant death rate (which is still quite high in India). In the course of discussion about the possible adverse results of consuming antibiotics indiscriminately, the topic of super bug also came up under discussion, in which the reports regarding the Indian origin of this so called ‘super bug’ were deemed to lack clinching evidence.
2. The workshop highlighted the challenges that media face regarding the coverage of health issues such as dealing with rumours and understanding the duty towards society. Discussions took place about the weaknesses in the reports of certain newspapers, which were assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills (CAS). The participating journalists resolved to follow the scientific and logical methods in their reporting and reiterated that they won’t share any health related news before complete verification from reliable sources. They also talked about how the health issues should be treated in a priority and decent manner and what are the characteristics of good reporting and bad reporting of health issues.
3. Last but not the least it was discussed as to how the health journalists trained in this workshop will further disseminate the knowledge and skills to their fellow journalists as well as young entrants into the fold with the help of Unicef.
Unfortunately India is currently lagging behind on these issues and failed to achieve the MDG, which were launched earlier in 2000. So one of the objectives of Unicef is to help us attain the SDG, where 17 goals and 169 targets are interlinked to one another. The issue of mother and child care is well recognised in India. In this regard it is noticeable that infant mortality rates are closely linked to it.and, hence, there is a need for stronger policies and awareness generation among all key stakeholders and the general public. For this the campaigns should be conducted through various means such as radio programmes and jingles, by Microdocs in Audio Visual Medium and various slide based campaigns through New Media.
So will the world be healthier by 2030? The bold and determined efforts by all concerned and the support of Unicef this time generate hope for us to have a better picture of our world by 2030.
Certainly this workshop has left indelible imprints on the hearts and mind of the eminent health journalists who participated thereby creating a hope to realize the Vision of PM Modi of a new and healthier India.