National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication (NEAP) 2011 failed to achieved desired results and objectives were not achieved due to many reason but most significant being access limitations in some areas and poor perception of the program in different parts of the country. This is due to lack of proper and responsible program coverage in media creating confusions and myths in the eyes of public. There is a great need to build the capacity of journalists reporting on Health issues so that clear and concise message could be made possible to reach masses and a proper and responsible accountability of government designatories be made through media. To achieve the NEAP objectives, UNICEF Pakistan engaged the services of Mishal to create an environment which is compliant to NEAP objectives by mapping, developing and monitoring the journalistic initiatives in favor of Polio Eradication Policy. JOURNALISTS AGAINST POLIO Capacity Building Program for Health Journalists for Polio is a step forward to create a better understanding of program objectives hence creating a favoring environment which can augment project delivery on POLIO eradication.
Major Components of the initiative:
Map out important journalists and media persons for capacity building:
With far reaching and deep rooted linkages with media, the Mishal was engaged to map out the important journalists reporting on health beat, especially POLIO, building their capacity to understand the challenges and misconceptions related to Polio. The journalists would also be trained on the importance of child vaccination to secure a prosperous and healthy future.
Plan capacity building of these journalists and media persons in all four provinces and Islamabad:
To ensure spread of knowledge across Pakistan Mishal conducted Capacity Building Workshops in each of the provincial capital where Polio virus is crippling the children. The workshops were conducted in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta.
Select and recommend trainers to conduct the training:
Mishal identified and worked with trainers to conduct training sessions in the five designated stations with key media professionals.
Develop methodology, training modules and finalize in consultation with UNICEF relevant staff and the government counterpart: Mishal developed methodology, training modules on interactive format using state of the art technology creating live news room environment for an engaging session with the journalists. The said modules were discussed with UNICEF and other stakeholders accordingly prior to the commencement of workshops.
Develop and print relevant resource materials:
Mishal developed, created and printed the relevant training resources for the journalists.
Develop and conduct pre and post evaluation and develop monitoring and evaluation framework for the training sessions:
Mishal developed pre and post evaluation process in a manner which engaged the current understanding of the journalists regarding the challenges.
Carry out documentation of the initiative in both video and written forms: Mishal developed the documentation regarding initiative in written and video format.
Project Objectives and Results Framework: For the purpose of this program a baseline survey was conducted to assess the present scenario of health reporting specifically with regards to POLIO immunization program. The survey was scientifically carried out in all major cities and rural areas including FATA.
After preliminary study a series of workshops was conducted where journalists were trained by highly professional and reputed health journalists and trainers.
A basic curriculum of training was designed by MISHAL in consultation with UNICEF and training professionals were engaged accordingly. UNICEF provided technical data and information about the Poliovirus and basic epidemiology. The training sessions included lectures, interactive dialogue, online expert opinions, video films, role-playing exercises, technical presentations on the poliovirus and basic epidemiology and real life case studies. For a hands on experience of vaccination process journalists were provided an opportunity to examine polio vaccine by bringing real vaccinators to the workshop where journalists were able to physical see and touch the vaccines.
Once workshops were conducted a shortlisting of journalists was done to participate in awards. A track record of writings and news bytes on health reporting will be maintained and journalists will be awarded on the basis of quality and quantity of produced material. This will create an environment of competition among journalists on investigative and rational health reporting.
After implementation of this program public perception about NEAP for POLIO will change and they will realize the importance of immunizing each and every child. Journalists will be in a position to reiterate the role of concerned government offices with more seriousness and accountability to performance.
In a nut shell the program had three-fold advantages:
-Will help in changing public perception about the program
-Will educate public about importance of immunization for each and every child
-Will highlight the role of government bodies in support of POLIO eradication in a quick,
efficient and transparent manner.
� 160 Journalists Trained in the Health Sector Across Pakistan
� Established Health Journalists Associations in Federal and Provincial Capital
The program was carried out in partnership with UNICEF and Press Clubs across Pakistan.