Since 1990, the child mortality rate in India has dropped by 45 percent. This progress is proof that life-saving interventions, technology and know-how to reach even the most vulnerable can save the lives of millions of children.
In spite of the steady progress, India is still among the top four countries that account for 50% of global under-five mortality. It also faces the challenge of being the world's second most populous country with diverse geo-socio-cultural conditions and sub-national disparities.
Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions that currently averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year globally. India has one of the largest immunisation programmes in the world, with nearly 27 million new-born babies and 30 million pregnant women targeted each year.
However, despite this extensive coverage, only 65% of children have received all vaccines during the first five years of their life. This indicates a pressing need for sustained interventions, particularly in areas where the rate of immunisation is low. To ensure universal coverage of immunisation it is vital to address the challenges.
Media plays a critical role in creating a sustained and informed discourse on any public health initiative, and to that end has a responsibility to be impartial, responsible and informed.
UNICEF envisioned a capacity development programme for media and media students in 2015, by mobilizing well-established academic partners such as the University of Oxford, UK, Thomson Reuters Foundation, UK, to bring the acclaimed Critical Appraisal Skills (CAS) course to India and adapt it for media.
The syllabus, developed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and a team of senior Indian journalists and academics, sets out to deepen participants’ knowledge of public health. At the same time, it aims to strengthen their evidence-based reporting skills to help them cover the sector in an accurate and balanced way.
The programme is built around the concept of Critical Appraisal, developed by the University of Oxford to help medical professionals assess whether data produced in medical trials is trustworthy, relevant or useful for their work. This methodology also applies to journalism. The project introduces participating journalists to these concepts and helps them explore how they can incorporate them into their day-to-day reporting.
Visit the website to find out more.