From: Eunice Menka, GNA Special Correspondent, Dakar, Senegal.
Dakar, Oct. 19, GNA - A communications expert has said that a blend of accurate information from traditional and religious leaders and the media were necessary for communities to make informed choices on child survival issues.
Mr. Kent Page, UNICEF Regional Communications Director in charge of West and Central Africa, said these three groups were trusted agents in the communities where they operate and they therefore needed to complement each other on issues such as immunization and child survival. Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the ongoing Pan-African Forum on building trust for immunization and child survival with religious and traditional leaders and the media, Mr Kent said the media should put out informed, accurate and balanced stories that would empower people to make favourable choices.
The Forum, which opened on Monday, was organised by UNICEF for chiefs, Imams, and journalists to deliberate on children's welfare. Earlier, at a panel discussion on the role of the media in immunisation and child survival, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Pan African News Agency, Mr Al Ebokem Fomenky, urged the privately owned press to devote resources to public service issues such as immunization. He said although child survival stories were not top on the agenda of the African press, it was an area worth pursuing to ensure the welfare of the continents' children.