Training in Tajikistan boosts journalists’ ability to report on climate change

WHO

A series of training workshops has helped journalists in Tajikistan to raise awareness about climate change and its effects on health. Three workshops were held in Sogd oblast (Khujand city); Khatlon oblast (Kurgan-tube) and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO – Khorog). The aim was to develop journalists’ skills in research and analysis, and presentation of balanced coverage of environmental issues, including climate change.

“Radio channels do not take into account their important role in development and education,” said participant Rasul Baranda. “They basically report ministry decisions and regulations. I believe that providing environmental education should be the mission of the channels. After the seminar, I would like to prepare an environmental radio programme for the people of Darvaz region of GBAO.”

Dr Sufiev Alimakhmad, Main Specialist in Hygiene and Sanitation at the Department of State Sanitary–Epidemiological Surveillance Service, and Ms Surayo Shujoat, radio correspondent of Sadoi Dushanbe in Tajikistan were the course facilitators. They also gave interviews on three key issues: climate change and its health effects, the work of WHO/Europe and the Ministry of Health in this area, and the development of the national climate change and health adaptation strategy.

“Every environmental story involves policy-making, taking decisions and initiatives,” noted Dr Alimakhmad. “There are many factors which cause health problems from climate change, such as economic development of the country, health, poverty and other development sectors. Working with the mass media and continuing collaboration between the Ministry of Health and WHO/Europe are fundamental instruments in reaching everyone and letting the public know about climate change and its impact on health. This kind of training is very helpful and important to journalists.”

“Educating the public in ecological issues is crucial for preserving the environment. The mass media can play a central role in changing thinking about natural resources, such as fresh water and land resources, that we have in our country,” said Ms Shujoat.

On the second day of the training, the participants visited local hospitals and central polyclinics to interview the doctors and medical specialists. The press tour allowed participants to explore the areas where consequences of climate change affect people’s health. The journalists used information collected during the tour and the training materials for their own media programmes and articles.

The media workshops were held with the financial support of the WHO Country Office, Tajikistan in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and State Sanitary–Epidemiological Surveillance Service.