60 UNICEF and Radio converge to improve Routine Immunisation

Bhubaneshwar, 20thAugust, 2016:Over 60 radio professionals from Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and New Delhi participated in a two-day brainstorming workshop focussing on increased awareness on Routine Immunisation. The radio personnel represented All India Radio, Private FM and district radio. The workshop was organised by UNICEF in partnership with Government of India, All India Radio and Association of Radio Operators of India in the backdrop of the Mission Indradhanush Phase III.
In his opening message, Dr. M.K. Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India said, “Mission Indradhanush (MI) Phase III aims to reach partially vaccinated children or completely unvaccinated (missed) children in 216 high focus districts across the country.” In his telephonic message, he highlighted the need for more innovative and nuanced programming in local dialects from the high focus MI districts
The participants created over 200 messages and slogans and more than 20 short radio clips reflecting key barriers that impede progress in achieving full immunization, i.e. lack of awareness among mothers and caregivers to complete full immunisation of children under five years; fear of vaccinations following side effects; geographical barriers and impact of migration on getting children fully immunized.
Speaking at the closing function, Ms Yumi Bae, Chief, UNICEF Odisha said, “I sincerely appreciate the efforts made by radio professionals in crafting messages to create awareness on routine immunization for the most hard-to-reach communities. More efforts are needed to link parents and caregivers with health services. Radio can play an important role in increasing the demand for services that help reduce child mortality in states like Odisha.”
The workshop also encourages radio professionals from across the country to submit entries for the second series of theRadio4Child Awards, instituted by UNICEF in 2014 around the importance of routine immunization. The last date for entries for this year is September 15, 2016.
Immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions that currently averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year1 globally. India has one of the largest immunization programmes in the world, in terms of number of beneficiaries, geographical coverage and quantities of vaccine used, with nearly 27 million new born babies targeted for immunization each year. Over 9 million immunization sessions are held every year across the country. However, despite this extensive coverage, only 65% of the children in India received all vaccines during the first year of their life. To tackle the issue, the Government of India has launched Mission Indradhanush, a focused RI campaign, in pre-identified 216 districts (phase 3) from across the country which account for majority of all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children.
UNICEF has leveraged its strategic partnerships to organize interactions and round table conferences with radio professionals in 2014-15, over 12 capacity building workshops have been conducted which have drawn participation of nearly 180 district and state level RJs from the nine priority Routine Immunization states. This has resulted in tapping the medium for free airtime, with over 50 radio jockey mentions and 21 innovative jingles on the need for complete immunization.
Station Head, All India radio, Cuttack, Ms. Nirmala Dei, Director, Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, Ms. Anupam Nidhi, Head, CSR, Reliance, Mr. Padhi, veteran radio broadcaster, Mr. Uday Chawla, Secretary General, Association of Radio Operators India were present as panelists.

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