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Thursday, February 22, 2024

AFRICA CDC DRILLS MEDIA IN RCCE STRATEGIES FOR COVID-19 VACCINATION

Date:

LIBERIA – The Africa Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC) has trained media professionals in the West African region on Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategies in vaccination against the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID).

The training, which took place in Cotonou, Benin, from October 4-7 2022, brought together media practitioners from seven West African countries, including Liberia, Benin, Gambia, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

Topics discussed during the three-day intensive training include Vaccine Journalism, Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategies; Data Journalism, and Infodemiology, among others.

Speaking during the opening session of the workshop in Cotonou, Benin, the Advocacy and Communication Officer of the Africa CDC, Madam Liliane Bilagho, stated that the training was intended to build the capacity of journalists across the West African region as a means of helping in the fight against COVID-19.

She added that the training will help journalists with the necessary information as it relates to reporting on the current COVID-19 vaccinations and other routine vaccinations being carried out by health practitioners in each member state.

The Africa CDC official asserted that the main aim of the institution is to achieve collective immunity for Africans against the coronavirus disease.

Also speaking, Mr. Albert Muya Dabaya, one of the Facilitators of the training, challenged journalists to help the African CDC combat the issue of misinformation and disinformation in the public by using the techniques of infodemiology.

Infodemiology is the science that deals with the management of information during an outbreak of disease.

He added that fact-checking is a major tool that helps prevent fake news in the fight against COVİD-19, urging media practitioners to always verify information available to them before publishing.

Mr. Dabaya emphasized that when media practitioners use the various techniques of infodemiology available to them, they will help the Africa CDC achieve its targeted 60 percent vaccination rate of the African population by the end of 2022.

Meanwhile, Ms. Vera Okeyo called on the participants of the workshop to get involved with regular reporting on the COVID-19 vaccination campaign as well as other routine vaccination campaigns across the region.

She further noted that in the absence of regular reporting by journalists on the vaccination campaign of the coronavirus disease, the Africa CDC will find it difficult to achieve its target in the fight against the pandemic.

Ms. Okeyo also called on member states of the African Union to adhere to the Africa CDC health protocol of routine reporting as a means of informing the institution on the challenges and gains made against COVID-19.

According to the Africa CDC website, Africa has about 12.1 million cases with 256,000 deaths and 22 percent of people fully vaccinated.

The report also underscored that West Africa constitutes 1,273 cases from Sept. 19-25, while the number dropped drastically in October with 462 cases, (LINA).

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