Journalists briefed on ills of industrially-made trans-fats

Media advocacy is the strategic use of mass media to advance public policy initiatives, says senior journalist.

ISLAMABAD: Following a series of collaborations with universities nationwide, Pakistan Youth Change Advocates joined forces with young journalists to communicate essential practice of social cause-based media advocacy with a focus on food safety particularly on the regulations and elimination of trans-fats.

In this regard, a workshop aligned with the broader objectives of the Transform Pakistan campaign regulating industrially produced trans-fatty acids (iTFAs) across all foods was arranged.

As many as 20 young journalists from various media outlets attended the workshop. Facilitated by Zarrar Khuhro, the workshop aimed to equip 20-25 influencers and young journalists with the knowledge, skills and strategies necessary for effective advocacy.

“Media advocacy is the strategic use of mass media to advance public policy initiatives. It is rooted in community advocacy and aims to promote healthy public policies”, said Zarrar Khuhro while addressing the group of young journalists.

Munawar Hussain, the in-country coordinator for the Food and Nutrition Program at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), led a session on a comprehensive overview of the iTFA landscape in Pakistan.

“iTFAs are the primary cause of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with 29pc of deaths in Pakistan linked to cardiovascular diseases, and the country has the highest diabetes prevalence, affecting 42 million people. The presence of iTFAs in common food items pose a severe threat to public health,” said Munawar Hussain.

Dr. Zaffar Mehmood, food and safety specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, said, “Media can play a crucial role in shaping successful campaigns for public health. It is also important to approach social cause-based advocacy with a heightened sense of responsibility and purpose, considering the intricate challenges and opportunities within the realm of food regulation.”

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