Radio Jockeys Lend Their Voice To Polio Eradication
NEW DELHI, 15 October 2011 – As India inches closer to its goal to eradicate polio, on-going initiatives are being scaled-up to reach the goal as soon as possible, such as effectively engaging media – both print and electronic – to spread the message on polio immunization and associated risk factors. Building media as polio advocates is one of the key elements of strategic communication support to the ‘last mile’ polio eradication efforts.
Yachna Sharma, RJ from Fever 104 FM, Mumbai expressed, “The training-workshop has enhanced my knowledge on polio and related risk-factors. The community visit was an eye-opener, interacting with the slum dwellers has made us realize our responsibility as communicators”.
Watching the Oscar nominated film ‘Final Inch’, Inderjit Paintal, Casual Announcer AIR & RJ Radio Mantra, Jalandhar was deeply touched by the unfailing commitment of community mobilisers in eradicating polio from the country. “It has helped me realize how important and difficult it is to reach the last child, each time and every time. Their story has inspired me to conceptualize polio related messages in a more creative manner, so as to motivate people for accepting the polio vaccine”.
As part of this, an interactive meeting was organized with Programming Heads of FM and Primary channels on 10 June, 2011 in New Delhi to focus on the need for programming on Polio and associated health issues within the programme modules of commercial FMs. The meeting facilitated interaction with Government representatives and polio partners, on engaging FM channels in the intensified polio eradication drive to step-up awareness in the community. The meeting evoked good response from the senior programmers who committed their active partnership in the last mile effort to eradicate polio from India.
As a follow up to this meeting, a series of six workshops have been planned for Radio Jockeys, for their skill building on innovative programming, to enable them air messages on polio and associated health issues within the programme modules of their commercial radio channels.
Two such workshops were organized for Radio Jockeys & Presenters of FM/Primary channels, in Jalandhar and Mumbai respectively, wherein RJs from radio channels, from the northern and western states, and within them the high risk districts with a large migrant population and resistant population, participated.
The workshops oriented them on polio and polio-plus issues through technical sessions, interaction with experts and visits to the community, which enabled them to understand the issues well and help mainstream messages on polio and associated risk factors into their regular e-e (entertainment-education) programming. The participants also went through a ‘virtual studio exercise” of live radio narration/songs, weaving-in relevant messages for the community, drawing public attention to the ongoing dangers of the poliovirus and encourage parents for OPV compliance.