Ogun Government, UNICEF Train Journalists On Covid-19 Prevention Strategies - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Friday, February 25, 2022

Ogun Government, UNICEF Train Journalists On Covid-19 Prevention Strategies

ABEOKUTA - Worried by the low turn out of Ogun state residents in taking the Covid-19 vaccine, the Ogun State Government in partnership with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has embarked on training of journalists on the awareness campaign about Covid-19 vaccination uptake.

The One-Day Media Advocacy Meeting On Covid-19 Vaccination Uptake held on Tuesday at the conference room of Rolak Hotel and Suites, Imowo, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

Addressing the participants at the workshop, the Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Waheed Odusile said the workshop was organized to further sensitize media practitioners on the proactive measures and strategies to sensitize members of the public.

Odusile who expressed dissatisfaction over poor turn out of Nigerians on the Covid-19 vaccination noted that the war against the scourge is far from over.

He explained that, as of November, 2021, only 2.81% of the Nigeria’s population of over 200 million had received at least one dose of the vaccine which was a far cry from set goal.

He maintained that, in spite of the enough supply of vaccines to the country by COVAX, and the continuous awareness campaign of tits availability, effectiveness, and safeness of the vaccines across the country, many Nigerians are flouting the covid-19 protocols.

He urged the media to jointly formulate practical strategies aimed at communicating the correct messages about the vaccines to the people at the grassroots.

The commissioner noted that the Ogun State government, in partnership with UNICEF, has decided to bring together media practitioners from all corners of the State, particularly those closest to residents from the 20 local government areas of the state, to discuss how to share genuine and correct information about the ongoing mass vaccination exercise.

He urged the participants to use the training as a springboard for effecting positive behavioural change in the people’s disposition to the covid-19 vaccine.

In his presentation, the consultant to UNICEF on Communications and Development, Dr. Goke Raufu noted that preponderance of COVID - 19 vaccines myths are causing many Africans to forego vaccinations, at a time when new and more transmittable coronavirus variants are killing people.

Raufu said to address vaccine hesitancy and skepticism, public health authority must work to address some of the prevalent myths that hinder uptake and counter them with accurate information.

The communication expert maintained that, at the level of individual, targeted awareness campaign about the present and imminent risks and complications contracting COVID - 19 are needed.

"We started the project as a collaboration with south we st states government, covid is affecting everyone around the world, we are here to look at issues affecting and communication.

"Vaccine mistrust in Africa is not entirely misplaced, as there has been history of medical experiments such as Pfizer meningitis vaccine trial in Kano State.

"Globally, several myths and rumours have arisen since the announcement of successful vaccines antidotes to combat COVID -19 such as Covid-19 does not affect young ones, traditional formula will cure COVID -19 and others."

In his welcome address, the Coordinating Director, Ogun State Ministry of information and Strategy, Mr. Lanre Ogunyinka said until the situation returns to normalcy, the onus is on journalists not to relent, but consistently remain proactive at dishing out to the public, appropriate information, situation reports and renewed hope to compliment government effort.

Ogunyinka noted that, despite the disposition of the people to the virus and its consequences for individuals and society alike, the fact remains that the virus is real. 

"As such, we must, as professionals, saddle ourselves with the responsibility of informing the public about the development impetus that would impact positively on their well-being, through awareness campaigns in the form of news reports, articles, features, interviews, documentaries, and other vital means of informing to provoke the right attitudinal change and such that will convince a majority of our people in Nigeria on the reality of the Covid 19 pandemic. 

"More importantly, we have a duty to sensitize our people on the need to get vaccinated in order to survive the various variants of Covid-19."

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