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Health Ministry holds workshop, marking World Immunisation Week

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Apr 29,2022 - Last updated at Apr 29,2022

Participants during a workshop organised by the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Merck Sharp and Dhome (MSD), an American multinational pharmaceutical company, on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Health Ministry)

AMMAN — The Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Merck Sharp and Dhome (MSD), an American multinational pharmaceutical company, on Wednesday evening organised a scientific workshop titled “The importance of vaccination and immunisation and the role of media in health management during crises and disasters”.

The workshop was held on the occasion of the World Immunisation Week, which is celebrated every year in the last week of April. 

“Through celebrating this week, we reaffirm the importance of immunisation in improving the health and well-being of people all over the world,” said Hassan Bibi, director of external affairs for MSD, stressing the role of media in raising the public’s awareness.

Director of the Directorate of Communicable Diseases of the Health Ministry Mohammad Hawarat noted that this week comes as a “reminder” of the importance of vaccination and immunisation in protecting communities from various infectious diseases.

Moreover, Hawarat offered a brief on the Jordanian National Programme for Vaccination and the work it has done over the years.

The National Vaccination Programme was established in 1979. It started with antigens combating tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, in addition to tetanus, and it currently offers 12 vaccines, he said, noting that “Jordan has been polio free since 1992”.

“All vaccines are provided free of charge to all members of the Jordanian society including refugees inside and outside camps by over 500 health centres well distributed all over the country,” added Hawarat.

The workshop, which was attended by a number of journalists and media professionals specialising in healthcare reporting, adopted an awareness-raising approach, offering guidance on the important role played by the media and its influence on the public, especially during crises and catastrophes. 

Rawa Al Atrash, a Lebanese health-journalist with over 20 years of experience, noted that the pandemic highlighted the significant role of health journalists, who “act as a link between scientific sources and the public”.

They carry a responsibility to “provide their audience with accurate, credible and timely information that answers their questions and concerns, especially during times of crises such as the pandemic,” she said.

Atrash also noted the importance of accurate and scientific reporting on health matters, as misinformation can endanger other people’s lives.

According to the World Health Organisation’s website, the theme for this year’s immunisation week is “Long Life for All”, as “it aims to highlight the collective action needed and to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease”.

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