17.09.2004 Health

Build trust between media and health professionals

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Accra, Sept. 17 GNA - A research fellow at the University of Ghana Medical School on Friday called for the building of bridges of trust between healthcare professionals, community leaders and the media. There was also the need to teach about immunisation at churches and mosques, as part of public health intervention in polio eradication, Dr Alex Dodoo said at a one-day media consultation meeting in Accra on polio eradication.

He said building of trust in healthcare interventions was important because of recent rumours associated with polio immunisation, which received media attention.

"There have been rumours about vaccines contaminated with HIV-AIDS and anti-fertility agents," he said.

Dr Dodoo attributed this to lack of, or poor knowledge on vaccines and information flow and said that was why the media was invited at the initial stage so that they did not just report but reported with understanding.

Dr Dodoo said the vaccine had no side effect and urged the media to use simple, unbiased and relevant information to educate the public. The World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Rotary International and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored the meeting. The meeting was to educate and involve the media in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of this year's polio eradication programme scheduled for October and November. Dr Nana Antwi-Agyei, National Programme Manager, Extended Programme Immunisation, said Ghana was making headway in the eradication having recorded zero case this year.

He, however, called on the media, politicians and traditional leaders to give polio eradication a national character since countries around us were still battling with the disease.

Dr Antwi-Agyei said their target this year was to get all children under five years immunised and not most children since if all children were immunised, there would not be any worry about importation from other countries.

He appealed to landlords and the public to tolerate volunteers who would be involved in the immunisation and asked district assemblies to help in the sanitation of their districts since it had a very crucial effect on the eradication process.

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