UNICEF, Dainik Jagran come together for Critical Appraisal Skills Workshop to work towards reducing number of zero-dose children

03 January 2024

NEW DELHI, 27 December 2023 – Over 60 media professionals from Dainik Jagran from all over India attended a one-day workshop held here on evidence-based health journalism focusing on Routine Immunization for children organized by UNICEF in partnership with Dainik Jagran, today.

The journalists from Dainik Jagran, its digital division Jagran New Media and its fact-checking unit Vishwas News discussed the importance of evidence-based reporting and fact-checking in health journalism – through UNICEF’s Critical Appraisal Skills (CAS) programme. They were encouraged to contribute to the discourse – through editorials, stories from the ground, social media platforms and engaging influencers on Routine Immunization to reduce the number of children who were missed or left out (zero dose).

Speaking on the need for capacity building of media, Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships, UNICEF India, said, “Speaking on the significance of critical appraisal skills and capacity for the media, Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships, UNICEF India, said, “Misinformation often drives vaccine hesitancy and can endanger public health and wellbeing. The media plays a pivotal role in clarifying scientific facts to parents and caregivers with correct information and evidence. The Critical Appraisal Skill (CAS) programme empowers the media to counter misinformation and help act as an ally and enabler to reach zero dose children. The CAS can equip the media to advocate for immunising every girl and boy and protect them from vaccine-preventable childhood illnesses.” 

Dr Yashika Negi, Health Officer, UNICEF India, spoke on India’s efforts to halve the number of zero-dose children in the post-pandemic period. “Robust government efforts such as Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3 and 4, India was able to arrest the backslide in the number of unimmunized children, during the COVID-19 pandemic. These dedicated efforts have produced encouraging results, with the number of zero-dose children being halved from 2.7 million in 2021 to 1.1 million in 2022. Media stands as a pivotal partner in this positive trajectory,” said Dr Negi.

The workshop brought together practitioners of CAS, journalists and subject experts, including senior editors from Dainik Jagran – Anurag Mishra, Skand Vivek, and Urvashi Kapoor to discuss the importance of evidence-based journalism in areas that impact children such as Routine Immunization, Antibiotics, and Mother and Child Healthcare.

Editor-in-Chief of Jagran New Media, Rajesh Upadhyay, emphasized the importance of critical thinking in the current era of journalism. “The tools taught in this workshop organized by Jagran New Media and UNICEF are extremely valuable. With these tools, journalists can present the practical and real situation to readers in a more accurate manner,” he added. Speakers from UNICEF included Sonia Sarkar, Communication Officer (Media) as well as CAS experts, Mr Vikram Mazumder, Strategic communication expert from La Pura Vida Foundation, Mr Ajay Kanchan from Media Today and Mr Ghazali, Editor UNN.

The CAS programme, developed in 2014 by UNICEF, in association with Oxford University, Thomson Reuters and IIMC for working health journalists and students of journalism and mass communication, was later adapted as an elective module in their curriculum by IIMC and Maulana Azaad National Urdu University. The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, too added CAS, this year, as a part of its curriculum for its third semester students.

Media contacts

Alka Gupta
Communication Specialist
Tel: +91-730 325 9183
Sonia Sarkar
Communication Officer (Media)
Tel: +91-981 01 70289


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