Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Considering media as the fourth pillar of a
state due to its important role towards transferring information and
opinion making, experts at a consultative workshop have called for
capacity building of media persons especially on health issues
including provision of emergency healthcare services.
Healthcare professionals, representatives from media regulators, media
experts and academicians attended the consultative workshop which was
organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
APPNA Institute of Public Health-Jinnah Sindh Medical University and
Khyber Medical University.
Objective of the workshop, which was part of the ICRC’s Health Care in
Danger (HCiD) initiative, was to develop training for journalists to
promote ethical and responsible reporting on the issues related to
healthcare in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Lubna Ansari-Baig, Chairperson
AIPH-JSMU, said, “Various research studies have identified that
irresponsible media reporting always hinders the provision of
emergency healthcare services. There is a need to improve the
standards of media reporting on health issues to counter
misperceptions, promote factual reporting, and stop the gradual
erosion of trust between healthcare providers and the public.”
The experts in the workshop deliberated in depth upon the problems
pertaining to reporting on health matters in national media and
provided their feedback to strengthen the content of the training.
They also stressed upon the need for following up this exercise with
hands-on trainings for journalists on ethical standards of reporting
Participating in the discussion, Secretary General of Pakistan Medical
Association, Dr Qaisar Sajjad, said, “Healthcare workers are working
in challenging circumstances, especially in emergency departments, to
provide life-saving services. They need the support of media personnel
to promote attitudes and behaviours among the general public that
facilitate the provision of healthcare services”.
The representatives of media at the workshop voiced the needs of
journalists and reporters specific to reporting on health care. They
called for media persons’ capacity building and trainings to
objectively report on the issues facing the healthcare sector.
At the same time, they were also of the view that it’s important for
healthcare workers to also enhance their communication skills to
enable a clearer flow of information between the media and healthcare
professionals, especially during disasters or emergencies.
Under the HCiD initiative, the ICRC has been working to make
healthcare safer in Pakistan by promoting evidence-based initiatives
in collaboration with diverse stakeholders including public health
institutions, medical academia, healthcare authorities, and the
Pakistan Red Crescent Society.