Connect with us


UNICEF launches innovative course in Public Health Journalism at IIMC



Pic 001A first-of-its-kind Certificate Course in Critical Appraisal Skills (CASP) for Public Health Journalism and Communication was launched today in the presence of over fifty academicians, Government representatives, media and students. The course is designed for media students and mid-career journalists, editors and government officials.
Conceptualised by UNICEF India in collaboration with the University of Oxford and Thomson Reuters Foundation and the George Institute for Global Health, the course is being offered at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC).
Giving the keynote address, Dr Agarwal highlighted “This intervention with media organisations and journalism schools will bring the expertise of academic networks to support significant improvement in the reportage and understanding of Universal Immunization Programme”.
The course offers a unique opportunity for professional skill development of journalism students, mid-level media, editors and Government officials. This module is being envisaged to support the Government of India’s flagship programme on Routine Immunisation – Mission Indradhanush – under the GAVI-Health System Strengthening Plan 2014-16.
Delivering his inaugural speech, Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative, said, “Media is a key and strategic partner for UNICEF and this initiative aims to enhance knowledge and skills of media students and journalists on all aspects related to Public Health reporting. We hope this will lead to even more informed coverage of health issues.”
Public health experts from UNICEF, Oxford University, and partners from Reuters Foundation, IIMC, George Institute for Global Health (GIGH) and senior members from the media will be actively involved in the delivery of this course.
Dr Premila Webster, Training Programme Director at the Oxford School of Public Health mentions, “The CASP course is currently being offered to public health professionals in UK. For India, this elaborate module is being also being adapted formedia professionals – both budding and experiences – and government representatives, to suit their needs of critical appraisal in the country’s health context.”
IIMC has streamlined the CASP course to suit their students of journalism. The course is a pilot for IIMC and will also be offered to Government media officials in 2016.
Mr. Sunit Tandon, Director General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication,said that, “The CASP pilot programme, is being offered as a certificate programme to 40 students of IIMC. This module will be delivered as a three-monthshort course and will comprise of workshops, field visits apart from classroom teaching to give media students a comprehensive idea about ground level realities related to public health issues.”
In 2014, a media analysis of English national dailies and language press was conducted, in association with UNICEF, where it was recognised that the overall situation of media reporting on public health issues in general and especially routine immunisation (RI) has been “news” oriented and event-based.
“ We hope that this partnership would  serve to enhance and strengthen media’s critical role in taking an  evidence-based approach to writing health stories ensuring that proper and informed debates on public health issues takes place’’, said Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director, George Institute for Global Health India.
Several rounds of consultations with eminent editors, journalists and academicians have led to the creation of a strong module in the context of the present public health landscape in India.
A three-day workshop is being held in October in which 30 mid-level journalists from various parts of the country will also participate.