Media urged to champion vaccine uptake in Ghana 

A two-day media workshop has been held in Accra, with a call on the media to step up education for Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians to embrace vaccination.

Organised by the Africa Media for Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), under the auspices of World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the event assembled journalists from the print, radio and television stations across the sixteen regions.

Among some of the topics treated were immunisation as a global tool for public health intervention; vaccine financing; the development of vaccines and how vaccines work in disease prevention, among others.

The media were urged to speak to experts and demystify the myths surrounding vaccines, in order to ensure uptake in vaccination in Ghana.

In her welcome address, the Executive Secretary for AMMREN, Dr Charity Binka, indicated that the training aimed to build the capacity of the journalists to disseminate information that would see the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines and all other vaccines in Ghana and, thereby, curbing disinformation surrounding these vaccines.

The media, according to Dr Binka, play a crucial role in ensuring the uptake of vaccines in Ghana.

Section of media seated and attentively listening to a presentation by a representative from the WOrld Health Organisation, Dr.Michael Agyapong.

She also noted that vaccines play a pivotal role in disease prevention, hence the need to champion the cause.

“Without vaccines, maybe all of us would have been dead because all of us have had some vaccines. All our children, without vaccination, cannot enter any school in this country.

Dr Binka stressed that vaccines saves lives, asking “so if we have vaccines that prevent diseases, why is there hesitancy?

“Vaccines prevent diseases, save lives – it is because of the vaccines that we are alive today. It curbs disease outbreak; it is cost effective because they are even highly subsidised so if you take something highly subsidised and prevent diseases, are we not doing the right thing?” she asked.

In view of the above, she charged the media to work closely with the Ghana Health Service, especially the EPI, in programmes such as immunisation.

She subsequently charged the media to educate the public on the need to embrace vaccines.

“We want you to amplify your voice about the importance of vaccines, which prevent diseases so that people go for the vaccines.”

The representative from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Michael Agyabeng, emphasised that the media had an important role to play in increasing vaccine uptake in Ghana.

“In shaping public opinion, journalists play a pivotal role in ensuring that people have access to accurate up to date information about health issues, especially when it comes to vaccines.”

The media capacity building programme, according to Dr Agyabeng, would broaden the horizon of the media on issues related to vaccines, among others.

“This training is expected to empower you with knowledge and skill to conduct your own research and report on immunization effectively. This is important not just for individual wellbeing, but also in achieving what we call herd immunity, where we will have majority or the sizeable proportion of the population protected. Even those who are at risk become protected because of the protection offered by the majority of that group”, he said.

On how the media will directly benefit from the event, Dr Agyapong said “through this training, you will understand the science behind vaccines, identify credible sources of information of vaccines, framing of stories to counter misconceptions with evidence”.

According to him, with the provision of accurate and trustworthy information about vaccines to Ghanaians, the media could empower the masses to take informed decisions about their own health and their families.

Touching on the crucial role of vaccines in healthcare delivery, the rep from WHO disclosed that vaccines are important in healthcare delivery and that it has saved millions of people.

“Vaccines are one of the most effective public health interventions that we have in saving millions of lives every year, however, misinformation and mistrust continue to pose a significant challenge.”


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