UNICEF-Radio4Child engage radio professionals to champion for immunization and child protection
BHOPAL: UNICEF India successfully completed a two-day workshop aimed at building the capacity of radio professionals from across India on the critical themes of Immunization and Child Protection.
Held under the Radio4Child platform of UNICEF, the workshop on December 21-22, acknowledged the role of radio professionals as frontline champions in addressing pressing issues related to child protection and immunization.
Over 40 radio professionals from private FM, All India Radio and community radio from Rajasthan, Haryana, Chandigarh, Chhatisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh participated in the workshop.
Speaking at the inaugural of the workshop Dr Santosh Shukla, Director Immunization, National Health Mission, Madhya Pradesh, said, “Radio, with its extensive reach, plays a pivotal role in disseminating crucial information about immunization and child protection. It acts as a bridge between communities and essential health programs. Our collective efforts aim to empower radio professionals to amplify the voices of children and strengthen child protection and social protection systems”
Dr Mainak Chatterjee, Immunization Specialist, UNICEF India, highlighted the significant progress India has made in increasing routine immunization coverage and how India successfully managed to prevent a decline in coverage in the post-pandemic phase by ensuring rapid resumption of routine immunization services coupled with evidence based catch-up Mission Indradhanush campaigns.
Dr Prashanth Kumar Health Specialist, UNICEF Madhya Pradesh, and Dr Rajesh Tikkas, Secretary, Indian Academy of Pediatrics participated in the panel discussion.
The vibrant panel discussion discussed emphasized on the importance of partnerships involving government bodies, healthcare professionals, private sector, community leaders, parents and media – particularly radio, to bolster immunization coverage, address challenges, and foster effective engagement across various stakeholders.
During the second session, Suresh Tomar, Joint Director, Department of Women and Child Development, Madhya Pradesh, stressed on the need for not having unachievable expectations from children. “The social understanding of violence is an evolving one and often some forms of bullying, corporal or domestic violence do not get considered as violence at all, although they hold adverse impact on the child.” he said.
Sharmila Ray, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, and Advaita Marathe, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF Madhya Pradesh, talked about the various facets of violence against children. They called for building a support for de-stigmatization of violence against children and work towards prevention of victim shaming culture.
Ray said, “There are child protection systems and laws to end child marriage, protect children on the move, promote family-based alternative care, prevent child labour, and provide mental health and psycho-social support to children and adolescents, and for that we need the support of all sections of society, from parents, families, communities and governments.”
The radio professionals participated in group work, conceptualized by the UNICEF team of Anil Gulati and Sonia Sarkar, enabling the creativity of radio products around the two themes.
In addition to capacity-building sessions, radio professionals were encouraged to carry child protection and immunization messages through their social media platforms, leveraging their significant mass following.
The event concluded with a collective commitment to #ENDviolence against children campaign and to continue leveraging the power of radio in championing child protection and immunization across India.