Media Has Critical Role to Play in Successful National Effort to Control Second Wave of COVID-19 in Pakistan: Dr. Faisal Sultan

ISLAMABAD, December 14, 2020: The Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA) organized an online workshop for health journalists in collaboration with the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination as part of its initiative to encourage evidence-based responsible and accurate reporting of COVID-19 response.

Inaugurated by Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health, the workshop is part of TDEA’s long-term program to engage key stakeholders, especially media personnel in critical governance issues for a more informed public and political discourse. Dr. Faisal Sultan apprised the participants of the measures taken by the government to curb the second wave of the pandemic. He identified the risk of COVID-19 related misinformation and stigmatization as a critical challenge that would require a concerted effort on the part of all stakeholders, especially the media. The SAPM lauded the role of civil society and media for keeping the public informed and appreciated TDEA’s effort in organizing the workshop.

The workshop enhanced the participants’ understanding of critical aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The subject matter covered including, understanding and access to COVID-19 data, the types of COVID-19 testing and information about vaccines. The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Zafar Mirza, former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister with sessions conducted by Dr. Asad Hafeez, Vice Chancellor National Health Services Academy, Dr. Usman Mushtaq and Dr. Shafiq Rehman of National Institute of Health (NIH). Health journalists from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar working with leading publications and media houses participated in the workshop.

At the end of the formal sessions, Dr. Zafar Mirza provided a brief on the planned follow-up residential 4-day training while Shahid Fiaz, the CEO of TDEA provided the strategic map for TDEA’s engagement and work on improving health governance in Pakistan. He concluded the session with a note of thanks for the participants, the ministry of health officials, especially for Dr. Faisal Sultan whose support made the workshop possible and UKAID for providing support for the initiative.