"I was getting information about COVID-19 mostly from media and people, which is sometimes confusing and disinforming. After attending this session from the World Health Organization (WHO), I am now clear about many confusions I have on COVID-19," said MP Mina Singh Rakhal after a knowledge-building session conducted among parliamentarians. "The experts' session has given us a clear picture with more reliable information and understanding on COVID 19," she added.
Amid different myths and misinformation on COVID-19 creating ambiguity among people, a knowledge-building session was conducted to parliamentarians of the Karnali Provincial Assembly in a bid to clear such confusions from the experts on July 13. Doctors from WHO made their presentations on many dimensions of COVID-19 including myths, disinformation, latest updates, infection trends and analysis of data among MPs and secretariat staff.
After the sesssion, MP Kaushila Khatri, said "Now I came to know that an infected lactating mother can't transmit the infection to the baby through breast milk, however, the mother needs to be cautious, maintain hygiene and should not expose the baby to the droplet while she sneezes or coughs,"
Like MPs Rakhyal and Khatri, 16 MPs including chairs of different thematic committees and five staff of secretariat participated in the session. MPs also raised questions about possibility of transmission of the pandemic through air and concerns about infected dead body disposal, myths on the use of domestic herbs to increase immunity power, among others. In the programme, WHO doctors explained about the importance of the crisis communications in times of pandemic since overflow of information both facts and rumors have created a lot of ambiguity among the people.
They also highlighted the MPs about the need of an effective and appropriate communication efforts to minimize social stigma and discrimination against the infected population. The experts also stressed on the need of following personal hygiene and social behavior with appropriate physical distancing for control of transmission and combating the pandemic.
Similarly, Sr. Advocate Khim Lal Devkota made a separate presentation on experiences of parliaments, their initiatives, legal dimensions, review of what was a missed opportunity and what can be done next, among other socio-economic analyses among the MPs.
Chairperson of the Social Development Committee Devi Oli said that the sharing session on COVID-19 enhanced MPs' knowledge on pandemic and helped to elucidate the rumors and confusions on it. She said that the session on global knowledge on parliamentary experience was equally insightful on the roles of parliament during the pandemic.
The virtual event that was organized by Social Development Committee of the Karnali Provincial Assembly with coordination and technical support from UNDP's Parliament Support Project in synergy with WHO.