United Nations Children’s fund, UNICEF and the media have pledged commitments towards child Rights influenced Reportage on the novel COVID–19 pandemic.
The united nations agency and members of the fourth estates of the realms showed their readiness to partner in the fight against the virus at a programme which took place in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
National Wire reports that the event was done by UNICEF in conjunction with the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State(BCA) for media executives within the South–South zone.
The programme tagged, ‘ One day zonal media executive meeting on COVID-19 vaccine, Vaccination and theories’ had in attendance media practitioners from select media outfits from the zone.
National Wire source also gathered that the event was the second held by the UNICEF in its Enugu field office, which comprises all the states of the south-South and South-East zones.
Informing participating media organisations of the objectives of the meeting, the Communication officer of the Enugu field office of UNICEF, Dr (Mrs) Ijeoma Onuoha-Ogwe stated as follows:
“The objectives of the programme are, identifying media networks in the field office(FO) to frame a pitch over all plights of children and women, to engage with 25 media representatives and practitioners in the south-South states to forge way for enhancing and making more visible issues affecting children and women, as well as calling the media to action,plan developed story pitches that will increase Covid-19 vaccination uptake”.
She emphasized that the media is a tool for informing and educating the citizens on issues of public interest, saying that the media have a wide reach.
She also noted that the role of the media in the timely dissemination of information can not be over emphasized, hence UNICEF partnership with the media in its programmes and activities.
She said: “The role of the media in the reportage of the Covid-19 vaccination,are the use of clear language, explanation of the stage, reportage of the numbers affected, reports on the adverse events following vaccination and the use of appropriate imagery”.
In the opening remarks of the event, Director General, Broadcasting corporation of Abia State (BCA), Anyaso, Anyaso who was represented by the Desk Officer of the corporation,Nkpa Okezie thanked UNICEF and the media for the partnership.
The Abia Radio boss described the media as a foremost tool for not only informing the general public of what is happening, but that it also has the capacity to constantly provide the needed education on issues that are of mutual benefits to the government and citizens.
Anyaso hinted that he was glad his office partnered with UNICEF towards finding lasting solutions to address issues partaining to the Covid-19 pandemic, as it affects children and women in this part of the nation.
Giving two lectures titled, ‘Covid-19: Vaccination as a lifesaver’ and ‘ The impact of Covid-19 on Children and Women: the need for mass vaccination’, a consultant physician in the Department of Community Medicine, Enugu State university teaching hospital, Dr Obasi Chikezie identified some of the errenous beliefs on Covid–19 vaccines and vaccination as the ‘death of a vaccinated patient after two years’, ‘magnetic metals’ in the vaccines, ‘convulsion’, ‘ignition of electric bulbs’ by any vaccinated individual and ‘changes in ones DNA’, amongst others, dismissing it as myths.
Chikezie who also called on all yet to be vaccinated individuals to make themselves available for vaccination at their various states of residence, expressed dissatisfaction that the nation’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage was still low, added that records available show that Nigeria has covered only just about 3%.
He decried the low level of vaccination reecords of Nigeria when compared to the Western and some of the Eastern countries of the world which he stated have recorded close to a 100% coverage as disheartening,urging the government to step up the rate of the vaccination exercise with applicable sanctions in order to persuade Nigerians to take the vaccines.
He said: “Our vaccination records in Nigeria show that we’ve vaccinated only just 3%, while America,China,the UK and others have surpassed 70, 80 and some have even achieved close to 100% coverage.
“If something is not done by the Nigerian government and other African nations governments to persuade Nigerians and citizens of other African nations from taking the Covid-19 vaccines,then I’m afraid,maybe Africa would live with this virus for ever and then it starts taking a even a stronger toll on Africa.
“We’ve identified complacency, convenience and lack of confidence as some of the reasons why most Nigerians don’t want to take or haven’t taken the Covid-19 vaccines”,.