An implementing partner of the Special COVID-19 Awareness Campaign sponsored by MacArthur Foundation and CITAD, Comrade Friday Bako has described media practitioners a critical stakeholders, opinion molders, gatekeepers and a source of accurate information. This is in addition to their ability to hold those in authority accountable.
He made this disclosure during a media parley organized with journalists on Wednesday 27th July 2022 in Jos the Plateau State capital. While addressing journalists during the parley, he charged them to help disabuse the minds of the public of fake news, conspiracy theories and other false claims which are not scientifically proven, and have adversely affected the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Comrade Friday Bako further described them as partners in progress and hence engaging them will have a significant impact in the actualization of the project. He commended them for their relentless efforts in disseminating accurate information. He called for stronger synergy with them to change the perception of the public about the COVID-19 Vaccines which have gone through the rigorous processes and approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for both emergency and full use.
He recognized the efforts, synergy and the collaboration of World Health Experts who worked round the clock to make sure vaccines are produced within the shortest time possible to tackle the virus, adding that it was important that the media assumed its responsibility of feeding the public with accurate information about COVID-19 and the vaccines by dispelling fake news that have heightened hesitancy.
He used the opportunity to call on the general public to ensure they get their information especially concerning the COVID-19 Vaccines from reliable sources such as the WHO, NPHCDA, NCDC and other health professionals to avoid being misinformed.
Comrade Friday Bako outlined that so far himself and his team have conducted two (2) town hall meetings (one each in Plateau North and Central Zone) while two are in the pipeline to be consummated soon, in addition to 45 Radio Programmes where they continuously engage Public Health Experts especially those in Vaccine production and other critical stakeholders to increase awareness on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 Vaccines.
Also, he added that they have had drama plays, aired 58 Jingles, produced banners and placed at strategic parts of the State all in their effort to sensitize the public on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 Vaccines and the need to be vaccinated.
He restated that he is committed to engaging the media, traditional rulers, religious leaders, CSOs, Youths/Women Groups, and other community-based organizations to drive this awareness campaign effectively owing to how important they are.