In a bid to take the ‘Routine Immunisation’ to the grass root levels and to reach the unreached, a specialised certificate course CASP on public health was launched in the national capital for media sutdents at IIMC -Delhi as a pilot project.
The three month course Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP) was launched in partnership with UNICEF India, University of Oxford and Thomson Reuters Foundation. The course will have 40 media students from IIMC Delhi and engage mid-career journalists from various regional newspapers on reporting about public health, particularly on immunization. This initiative aims to help educate grassroots level on routine immunization programme, as only 65 per cent of the children in India receive all the vaccines during the first year of the life.
The intervention with media organisations and journalism schools will bring the expertise of academic networks to support significant improvement in the reportage and understanding of Universal Immunization Program (UIP), said Dr M K Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner (UIP), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The certificate course, which was conceptualised by UNICEF India after consultation and workshop pan India with media organisations would offer an opportunity for professional skill development of journalism students, mid-level media.
As per a analysis made by UNICEF on English dailies and language press it was recognised that the overall situation of media reporting on public health issues in general and particularly on routine immunisation has been news oriented and event-based.
Media is a key and strategic partner for UNICEF and this initiative aims to enhance knowledge and the skills of media students and journalists on all aspects related to public health reporting, said Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative.
IIMC Delhi has streamlined the CASP course to suit students of journalism.
The CASP course is currently being offered to public health professionals in UK. For India, we have elaborate module that is being adapted for media professionals “ both building and experienced. Even government representatives like PIB officers and other officers dealing public health would be roped in the course as it would suit their needs of critical appraisal in the countrys health context, Dr Premila Webster, Training Programme Director at the Oxford School of Public Health mentioned.
The course would help the media students to ask right questions, getting the best evidence, tracking the right source of information, critically appraising the evidence and contextualisation of the public health news.