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The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in partnership with UNICEF, hosted a communication awareness workshop for representatives of Community Radio Stations from 16 States on Sunday.

The thematic session highlighted the need to create meaningful awareness campaigns about COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) and bust myths surrounding COVID vaccines and vaccination, particularly among communities residing in remote and difficult-to-reach areas in the country.

The session was addressed by Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry. The Joint Secretary, in his opening remarks, acknowledged the contribution of Community Radio Stations (CRS) in supporting the world’s largest vaccination drive andnoted that sustained efforts of CRS by airing informative programs on COVID vaccination for their discerning listeners is reflected in increased community participation in the ongoing vaccination drive for adults.

CRS 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.

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 was also focused upon. The collective responsibility to address mental health issues among communities through informative programming by engaging with subject experts from State and National level,was stressed.

CRSs were asked to continuously remind listeners about the need to strictly follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour as the second wave is still not over. Participants from CRS were encouraged to produce innovative programmes and create Jan Andolans (public movements) by featuring and acknowledging community role-models.

Participants shared their experiences of interaction with the audiences and how they allayed their apprehensions, concerns about COVID vaccines and motivated them to get vaccinated.

Senior officials of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of I&B, PIB, DD, AIR and UNICEF also attended the interactive session.

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