Côte d’Ivoire radio stations work with government to increase confidence in COVID-19 vaccines

| December 12, 2022

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In Côte d’Ivoire, as elsewhere, rumours say that COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous. To help dispel this myth, between May and September 2022, approximately 250 Farm Radio broadcasting partners in 16 countries participated in FRI’s COVID-19 vaccine confidence campaign. 

The campaign promoted COVID-19 vaccines, answered listeners’ questions, and provided accurate information on the effectiveness of the vaccines available in their communities and how to access them. 

In Côte d’Ivoire, the campaign involved 19 radio stations, who collaborated with the Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene, and Universal Health Coverage. Participating stations attended an online training provided by local health experts such as Prof. Attoh Touré Harvey, an expert in vaccinology at the University of Cocody and spokesperson for the Ministry of Health on the deployment of vaccines in Côte d’Ivoire. 

Prof. Harvey shared his knowledge of vaccines with the training participants, saying, “Vaccination is a safe and effective solution to fight against COVID-19.”

He also noted that the vaccine helps people avoid serious illness due to COVID-19.

In general, the training gave participants the opportunity to exchange on the techniques involved in radio interviews and other formats. The training included community and religious leaders, artists, and members of local communities, as well as Ms. Maria Ouattara, a gender specialist at the Ministry of Family and Children. 

At the end of the training, there was a design workshop to develop a 10-week radio campaign. During the campaign, each radio station committed 50 minutes of weekly programming to raising awareness about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines as well as countering myths and misinformation about the vaccines. 

To accomplish this, the stations interviewed many people in their communities, including health experts, artists, people who had recovered from COVID-19, and community and religious leaders. 

One segment by Gbêkê FM included an interview of a religious leader named Kambou Davila. Mr. Davila is a senior pastor at the Evangelical Missionary Baptist Church and spokesperson for the evangelical community in the Gbêkê region. His interview focused on the importance and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

He said, “… the only way to prevent COVID-19 is to be vaccinated and to follow the protective measures on a daily basis.” 

The pastor noted that, as a respected community leader, he had a responsibility to protect those around him, as well as to serve as a model to the members of his church. He said that this was the reason he got vaccinated and shared his experience on air. 

Mr. Davila says that the church supported vaccinations by making vaccine centres on the premises. 

The campaign was a success, with involvement by radio stations from across the country. Participating broadcasters hope that their work enabled listeners to overcome myths, misinformation, and fear of COVID-19 vaccines, and make an informed decision to get vaccinated. 

Stations credit the success of the campaign to the support of the Ministry of Health, which facilitated the participation of experts, resource persons, and doctors from various regions.

Photo: Mohammad Meimuna gives an interview with a reporter from Might FM in Kpachelo, Savelugu Nanton district, Northern Region, Ghana.