Lahore, November 26, 2021 (PPI-OT):Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said here on Thursday that reporting on health issues especially epidemics was very much technical in nature and required professional improvement on continuous basis. Speaking as chief guest at the ‘Risk Communication and Reporting of Epidemics’ the Health Minister that role of Pakistani media remained largely professional and responsible during the Corona Pandemic. The workshop was organized by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department with support of the World Health Organization.
Present on the occasion were Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Imran Sikander Baloch, Director General Health Services Punjab Dr. Haroon Jehangir, Head of Office WHO Punjab Dr. Jamshed Ahmed, Senior Journalists Siddique Khan, Mohammad Ilyas, Zaheeruddin Babar and reporters covering health beat in the provincial metropolis. The participants engaged in interactive sessions over Risk Communication and grey areas in news story development during epidemics and pandemics.
In her speech, the Health Minister said, “I congratulate the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department and express my gratitude to the WHO for organizing a workshop on a very important area, Risk Communication. Media has a huge responsibility as the fourth pillar of the state. Communicating right and accurate information to citizens is the responsibility of media. Sensationalism and irresponsible reporting create panic and chaotic situations.
Reporting on health is extremely sensitive as the selection of words can have serious impact on public perceptions. There are technical jargons that often times get misreported. Our media played positive role during Corona Pandemic. The COVID-19 changed life styles and affected the world beyond description. Our department tries to make best efforts to communicate right information to the public.
During the Corona Pandemic, there were news stories about trials of Chloroquin and Actemra. Yet that triggered panic and unnecessary storage began by people. We try to keep people updated about the latest situation on COVID-19 and Dengue. Reporting on health is technical in nature and places a lot of responsibility on reporters.
The working of the government and role of media are contributory and compulsory in nature. Issue-based objective reporting reduces distances between the government and the media. During Reach Every Door campaign, media’s role was exemplary. Europe is witnessing an increase in cases as winter sets in and there be possible lockdowns.
I must mention the role of NCOC that led information management very well. Creating awareness and saving lives is a sadqa-i-jariya. Reporters acquainted with Health jargons and are better equipped to report on health issues. I must pay tribute to health reporters who provided right information to people during the Pandemic.
A large population of Punjab have been inoculated for first dose. Strong coordination between media and public helps control panic and chaos in society during times of crisis.” In his speech Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Imran Sikander Baloch said media role was very important in creating awareness in public.
He said the P and SH Department was keeping people abreast of all developments and work on improving systems was underway. He said through strong coordination with media the government was trying to communicate accurate information to public.
Director General Health Services Punjab Dr. Haroon Jehangir said that the session was extremely productive as media and department was able to understand working of each other. He said queries, concerns and suggestions of journalists were noted and understood during the session. WHO Head of office Dr. Jamshed Ahmed elaborated technical details on areas like PPE and N95 masks and their usage. He underpinned WHO commitment for continuous technical support to the government.
For more information, contact:
Directorate General Public Relations,
Government of the Punjab