Pak-Afghan Journalists Resolve to Help Contribute towards Polio Eradication


Voice of America (VOA) organized a three days sensitization and orientation workshop for journalists from Afghanistan and Pakistan for covering polio related news stories and features for public consumption.


Key partners in polio eradication program in Pakistan including CDC, UNICEF and WHO provided the technical support for conducting this workshop. Focus of the workshop was to discuss various issues related to anti-polio program, vaccination, need for awareness raising among communities, role of journalists and coverage of child health related issues. Journalists from various media outlets of Afghanistan and Pakistan including VOA Deewa Radio, VOA Ashna Radio, Mashal Radio, Azadi Radio, Radio TNN, Express Tribune and Channel 24 participated in the event.


During the three days workshop number of sessions were held to understand the media coverage of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan; challenges, opportunities and strategy for covering polio news in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Working in hostile environment; Sensitizing parents, caregivers and communities to covert zero doze/missed children; accessing polio campaign data; confirming and reporting polio cases and polio related security incidents; Changing the stereotypes about polio in high risk regions; audio/video profiling of polio survivors;  Success stories on combating polio in other countries/regions and contribution of media in the success; importance of audio-video dramas; and need for coverage of polio news on  digital platforms.


VOA Ashna Radio team lead Ibrahim Rahimi says ‘I wish, as like rest of the world, we also succeed in eradicating polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan in near future. Media has important role in polio eradicating efforts. In this training we tried to inform and develop skills of participating journalists so that they could prove effective once they are in field while reporting about anti-polio endeavors’. 


One of the participating radio journalist from Radio Azadi Afghanistan, Khan Mohammad Seend shared that ‘Although we knew about the crippling disease of polio but after this training workshop we understood how important it is to eradicate it, since polio virus could harm many. It is common problem that needed to be tackled.’