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Consultation on media and public health

In order to address the gap in media coverage when it comes to routine immunisation as a public health programme, UNICEF India plans to work with the George Institute for Global Health and its network partner in the UK, Oxford University, to bring a critical skills appraisal programme for budding and mid-career journalists.

The proposed project is about conducting a study on the media coverage of public health issues with focus on routine immunisation and pre- and post-module development workshops with journalists, media educators and select public health professionals. The critical skills appraisal programme developed by Oxford University for public health professionals would be used as the starting point to develop a module which would be then offered to journalists as a certification programme. The entire programme is being designed as an Oxford University-certified programme with a scale-up possibility in terms of either a web-based course curriculum or modules integrated into the mass media education as a goal and a target at the end of three years.

In Chennai, UNICEF sought the help of the Press Institute of India in arranging a consultative meeting with select journalists and communicators. The meeting on September 2 was attended by Premila Webster, head of the Nuffield School of Population Health at the University of Oxford, and the chief representative of Oxford University for the project. Sashi Nair, director, Press Institute of India; Sugata Roy, communications chief, UNICEF (Tamil Nadu & Kerala); Sonia Sarkar, communications officer, UNICEF (Delhi); UNICEF consultants; and representatives of the George Institute for Global Health attended. The interaction was lively and several suggestions were made by senior journalists regarding the curriculum to be framed for the proposed certification course.