Guwahati, October 9: Despite the dominance of social media today, radio still impacts minds in many remote parts of the Northeast. This perhaps has prompted UNICEF India to rope in at least 70 radio professionals to help improve immunisation in the region.
UNICEF India on Sunday launched the Northeast chapter of the Radio4Child platform in which radio professionals will be roped in to help create innovative messaging on children and women’s issues in the region.
“Over the years, we have seen that there has been a steady rise in the immunisation coverage in the Northeastern states of India. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen surfacing of zero-dose children (those who have not received even a single dose of any vaccine) and also challenges in nutrition. Radio has the power of reach – it reaches the remotest of regions of Northeast. If key messages are integrated in the popular shows that people tune into, then the information will stay with them,” said Maninder Singh, additional chief secretary, Assam, while formally launching the Radio4Child platform.
The chapter was launched in Guwahati on Sunday at the culmination of a two-day capacity building workshop on nutrition and routine immunisation for over 70 radio professionals from Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and some North Indian states.
Madhulika Jonathan, Chief of UNICEF Assam and the Northeast said, “This is a much-needed chapter in the journey of the Radio4Child platform. It will provide all stakeholders working on children’s rights in the Northeast, especially the state governments, with a very useful platform to spread mass awareness and address social behavioural challenges.”
Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships, UNICEF India, said radio can play a big role in giving communities a wake-up call that we cannot allow the legacy of Covid-19 to be the resurgence of measles, polio and other childhood killers. She encouraged the radio professionals to highlight the challenges of malnutrition (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity), breastfeeding, and complementary feeding.
Radio4Child is a unique public-private partnership platform that brings together radio announcers, RJs, producers and programming officers from All India Radio, private FM, and community radio across India. Through workshops, online engagement, and one-on-one sessions, it helps build capacities of radio professionals on critical child rights issues that are in support of government campaigns/programmes like routine immunisation, POSHAN Mah, among others.
“During the pandemic, Radio4Child sensitized over 2,000 radio professionals from all over India and encouraged them to come up with creative programmes around COVID-19 and vaccination and related issues,” UNICEF India said in a statement.