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Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in collaboration with UNICEF, hosted a communication awareness workshop for representatives of community radio stations from 16 states. The agenda of the workshop was to highlight the need to create awareness campaigns on Covid-appropriate behaviour (CAB) and bust myths surrounding Covid-19 vaccines and vaccination, especially among communities in remote and far flung areas of the country.

In his opening remarks, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary with Union Health Ministry, appreciated the contribution of community radio stations in India's vaccination drive against Covid-19. He also noted that sustained efforts of such radio stations by airing informative programs on Covid vaccination has translated in increased community participation in the ongoing vaccination drive.

Community radio programmes in regional language aimed at educating communities about importance of Covid-appropriate behaviour, addressing myths and misinformation linked to vaccines and creating awareness on vaccination progress is resulting in uptake of vaccination among many tribal districts of India, a Health Ministry statement read.

During the session, community radio stations were urged to highlight community-led positive initiatives and role models to strengthen vaccine trust among communities that they cater to.

The issue of mental health linked to Covid-19 was also discussed during the workshop. The collective responsibility to address mental health issues among communities through informative programming by engaging with subject experts from state and national levels emphasised on.

Community radio stations were asked to continuously remind listeners about the need to strictly follow Covid-appropriate behaviour as the second wave is still not over.

Attending representatives from community radio stations were encouraged to produce innovative programmes and create a public movement by featuring and acknowledging community role- models.

Participants shared their experiences of interacting with the audiences and how they resolved their doubts and concerns about Covid vaccines and motivated them to get vaccinated.

Joint Secretary Agarwal answered their various queries and applauded their continued support to widen the net of authentic information in the regions.

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