New Delhi: Just two hours’ drive from Delhi and sharing its border with IT hub Gurugram, Nuh still happens to be one of the most backward districts in India, according to Niti Aayog aspirational districts list of 101 districts in India, Nuh is at the bottom. However, in COVID-19 tough times, when cities and districts across India are trying to fight misinformation against COVID-19 and motivate maximum number of people to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, this backward district has come up with a unique way to fight the battle.
Nuh is battling the COVID-19 crisis in the district through community radio programme – Radio Mewat. The programme helps debunk misinformation on COVID every single day and help villagers fight the virus in an informed way. Every morning, Sohrab Khan, the station manager at the radio station hosts a show in which he busts common myths related to the virus – like drinking Hydrochloric acid can save you from COVID-19 or getting a vaccine for COVID-19 is not safe. It is heard by at least 7 lakh people or 180 villages in Haryana’s Nuh district every morning.
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Sharing her own experience and how Radio Mewat helped her come out of vaccination fear, Bhajan Devi, resident, Nuh said,
We had heard a lot of misinformation when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines – some said people die after getting the vaccine, some said there are just too many side-effects and risk involved. As a result of all this, me and my family were really scared to get vaccinated at the first place. But soon, we started hearing on the radio that vaccines are safe, in fact, they help an individual from developing a serious disease. I convinced myself to get vaccinated. Soon after my vaccination, I also shared my personal experience on radio with others. When more women heard my story, they also got motivated and got vaccinated.
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Speaking more about the initiative and how it is helping people of Nuh, Sohrab Khan added,
In today’s day and age, most people take information through their smart phones or social media. Here in Nuh most of the people don’t have access to these things, as a result to make them aware about the ongoing crisis on humankind, we decided to give them updates through a community radio programme, which is present in most of the households, as that is their connection to the outside world.
Radio Mewat which was launched in 2010 is one of the two radio stations in the region of at least 12 lakh people. And while education still remains a challenge for people of Nuh, radio has emerged as an instrument to engage and educate, especially women and children. According to the authorities, popularity of radio programme has increased during the course of COVID-19 pandemic. In the time of uncertainties, community radio like Radio Mewat has surely proven to be a boon.
Sakuna, Reporter, Radio Mewat highlights highlighted her experience and said,
I feel extremely proud that I am being able to educate my people and helping them fight this battle in an informed way. Our aim is to educate these people in their own language – a language which will touch their heart and they will understand. Through radio programmes, we connect with them and make them aware.
Stressing the importance of Radio in the lives of people in Nuh, Mahavir Prasad, CEO, Zila Parishad, said,
Very few people have access to smartphones here and that is why Radio has been active for a very long time. Radio is like a mode of communication of authorities with its people, through our radio programmes, the aim is to spread awareness on any particular topic, for now, it is COVID-19.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.