| 13 Apr 2024
AROI and UNICEF come together to promote routine immunisation

MUMBAI: UNICEF, along with the FM radio industry of India, began their first initiative to build awareness on routine immunisation of children in India. The workshop, which was held in Delhi over the week-end, brought together over 50 national programming head and RJs from various private FM radio stations including AIR, BIG FM, Radio Mirchi, Red FM, Radio One, Radio Chokolate, Radio Mantra, FM Rainbow and Radio Misty.

The two-day hands-on training and brain-storming workshop is aimed at saving the lives of children from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. It was organised as part of World Immunisation Week and focuses on the unparallel reach of radio and its dedicated listenership, which could help highlight the importance of vaccination.

Speaking at the event, President of AROI (Association of Radio Operators of India), Anuradha Prasad said, "FM radio can play a significant role in promoting important social issues while weaving them in regular programming."

Also present at the workshop was UNICEF chief of communications, Caroline Dan Duk, who was thrilled with the creative and high energy levels of radio personnel. She said, "As part of our media engagement, we realise the importance of engaging with radio as it has enabled us to reach key messages to audiences across the country."

UNICEF is using the strength of FM radio to ensure immunisation remains a topic of constant discussion in the country. Chief of health UNICEF India, Genevieve Begokian provided a brief on India’s Universal Immunisation Program (UIP). She stated that in terms of number of children covered and geographical reach, it was one of the largest health initiatives in the world.

Radio professional RJ Simran Kohli, who is creative consultant for this initiative, brought together all the RJs working on the issue through an online forum, which is a Facebook page called radio4child. RJ Naved of Radio Mirchi made his view on an RJ’s responsibility clear by stating that along with entertaining audiences, RJs can also use the radio platform to promote social causes. As a promise to raising awareness of the programme, the RJs dipped their palms in colour and took the "pledge of life".

Statistics state that about 27 million children are born every year in India. Of these, 7.2 million children are not vaccinated. These are usually for the marginalised sections of society and live in areas that are difficult to reach, and have no proper ial justice is achieved," Javadekar said.