ISLAMABAD - Experts at a consultative workshop on Wednesday called for capacity building of media persons’ health issues including provision of emergency healthcare services.

Healthcare professionals, representatives from media regulators, media experts and academicians attended the workshop, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), APPNA Institute of Public Health (AIPH) - Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU) and Khyber Medical University, here. The professionals 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 stressed upon the need for following up this exercise with hands-on trainings for journalists on ethical standards of reporting on health.

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. Speaking on the occasion, Chairperson AIPH-JSMU, Prof. Lubna Ansari-Baig, said, “Various research studies have identified that mature media reporting always ensures the provision of emergency healthcare services. She underlined the 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.”

Pakistan Medical Association, Secretary General, 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.”

Under the Health Care in Danger (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.