First episode of the live discussion 'Beyond the Pandemic': Mass Awareness to Battle COVID-19

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Published on May 17, 2020
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Bangladesh Awami League has organized a live discussion on 15th May titled BEYOND THE PANDEMIC. The topic of the discussion of the first episode was "Mass Awareness to Battle COVID-19". It was aired on the party's official Facebook page.

Honourable Minister of Information Dr Hassan Mahmud MP, Honorable State Minister of ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, Additional Commissioner & Head of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit Monirul Islam, Chairman of the Department of Education and Counselling Psychology from the University of Dhaka Professor Mehtab Khanom, Mental Health Expert, Director (Disease Control) & Line Director CDC, DGHS Professor Dr Shahnila Ferdousi, Journalist of Ekattor TV Farzana Rupa, Managing Partner and Creative Chief of Grey International Syed Gausul Alam Shaon, renowned actor Riaz Ahmed and more than 10 representatives of students and journalists' community joined the live discussion. Prime Minister's Special Assistant Barrister Shah Ali Farhad moderated the discussion.

Responding to a question from the host on the public awareness initiatives taken by the Government of Bangladesh to address corona at the beginning of the program, Hon'ble Minister of Information Dr Hasan Mahmud said, "On Bangladesh Television we've created and propagated various awareness videos and organize corona awareness programs with different representations from doctors' community which are still going on. We have also aired awareness programs equally on Bangladesh Betar."

Asked if the media has played a proper role in tackling the presenter's corona, journalist Farzana Rupa said, 'Millions from young generation are preferring stay at home. This means that the media has been able to play their role successfully. Farzana Rupa was also asked if it was necessary to arrange a feud between two or four political parties in the name of talk show during such struggling period. In response, she said that every channel has changed the style of talk show discussions. Everyone is now discussing in detail what we need to do to deal with Corona instead of political discussions, she added.

The digital campaign deemed crucial in dealing with information dissemination regarding Covid-19. State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, on promoting various initiatives in Digital Media, said, Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's idea of ​​building Digital Bangladesh is the main reason why in such struggling time of this pandemic, 160 million people of the country could get access to health care, daily food aid and mobile banking easily.

In response to a question regarding police member getting infected and not using proper safety measures to protect themselves Add. Commissioner Monirul Islam said, " The commitment of Mujib Year was 'Police will be People’s and keeping this slogan in mind, Police is very concerned about keeping people inside their home most of the time. The members, who are getting more exposed to people due to maintaining the protective regulation, are receiving PPEs and other safety tools to remain safe.

Monirul said, "Due to the lack of clear idea about the pandemic and the increase in the scope of work, the number of police victims increased in the start. And to ensure that those who were not attacked do not lose their morale and stay safe, senior police officials are making sure through working on new strategies."

In response to the host's question about what possible strategies could be adopted in order to make people follow the health directions given by the government, Prof. Mehtab Khanom Said, "People need to be communicated in the language that they understand."

Gausul Alam Shaon was asked about the roles of cultural personals during this pandemic and their roles. He replied that they are working from their own places from the beginning as much as they can.

Responding to a question from the host on what can be done by the famous personals of Bangladesh to deal with Corona, actor Riaz said, "Since there is a possibility of a big loss in anything that we do, it would be beneficial for us if there's a fixed directive from the government for us. We may have to coexist with Corona in the coming days, so now we need detailed discussions on how to live with Corona."

Moderator mentioned an online survey prior to the live discussion. In that survey, a student asked that Eid is near and there is a big possibility of mass people's movement will increase at large scale and what can be done to prevent the health risks during that time. In reply, Prof. Dr Shahnila Ferdousi discouraged any homesick city-dwellers and said, "Stay where you are. Do not risk the death of an elderly family member by going home." Government has already issued an order asking people to remain at the workplace, she added.

The next session of this online discussion on corona outbreak will be broadcast live on the official Facebook page of Bangladesh Awami League on May 19 at 10 pm.