BY BLAIR MHONE
The Malawi Red Cross Society in conjunction with the Ministry of Health has engaged journalists in correct polio information dissemination after an imported case was reported in Malawi after 30 years.
Speaking in Dowa during a media orientation workshop on polio reporting, MRCS Director of Programmes Prisca Chisala said journalists play a crucial role in clearing misconceptions about the disease and bridge the knowledge gap.
“As MRCS, our mandate is to be first responders in terms of disasters or health emergencies and that is why, together with Ministry of Health we decided to engage the media and instill them with knowledge on how polio is spread, how it can be prevented as well as the importance of polio vaccine among others.
“We believe that the media is a powerful tool where information can be spread so fast. At the moment, according to the assessments done on polio, there is a lot of misinformation with some people and the ministry of health wants to use it as a way to mobilize people to get COVID-19 vaccine,” Chisala said.
On her part Deputy Director of Preventive Health Services responsible for Community Health, Doreen Ali said the orientation accord journalists the necessary capacity to help sensitize the general public and feed them with correct information on the dangers of polio.
“As the Ministry, we responded immediately and the district teams are preparing for this response. At Central level, our ministry and other partners are on the ground finding ways on how to eradicate the spread of the disease by sensitizing people to get their children of 0 to 5 years vaccinated,” said Ali.
The Ministry of Health on 17th of February declared a State of Nation Health Emergency after an imported case of polio was confirmed in Lilongwe.