ASK THE EXPERT

WHAT?

This is when you interview a health expert on air to hear their advice – for example:

  • Midwife or nurse
  • Doctor
  • Local health officer
  • WHO, UNICEF or other health NGO officer

You could also interview several experts at the same time, letting them discuss the issues with each other and/or with community members who may have questions or concerns.

A doctor answers questions about breastfeeding on BBC Media Action’s radio show Ghamai
View transcript

WHY?

  • This gives your programme authority – the advice comes from a reliable source whom your listeners trust and respect

  • For example, your community may look to a local religious elder for advice on family issues. So having a supportive elder talk positively about polio vaccination on your programme could really help reassure your listeners

  • Health advice is often complex and can change as scientists discover new things, so it’s important to get the most up-to-date, accurate facts from experts
There are some people who disagree with vaccination claiming that if the children are vaccinated, it will barren them. Or, they claim that it is against Islamic teachings. Then, they were all convinced by the Mullah that they had been wrong. He told them that a lot of money has been put on it and has no harm at all.

Malik in Tangi Watch who listened to a radio show on polio

HOW?

  • Accurate advice has the power to save lives, but wrong information can harm – so make sure you only interview people who have up-to-date knowledge on your chosen topic. Take a look at Key Contacts for some suggested experts
  • Either invite them into the studio, or record the interview out in the community – perhaps in the health facility where they work
  • Ask your listeners what they want to know. They could submit their questions by social media, email, phone or face to face
  • To avoid surprises on air, it’s best to pre-record the interview so you can edit out irrelevant bits or, if you’re not satisfied, drop it and interview someone else

INTERVIEW TIPS

  • DO prepare for the interview by reading up on the health issue
  • DO plan most of your questions beforehand, but make sure you also listen and respond to the expert during the interview
  • DO keep your questions short, simple and specific
  • DO speak to the expert beforehand – tell them what you want to talk about, find out what they know and see what they’re like as an interviewee. For example, have they got a good, clear voice? Are they knowledgeable on the topic? Do they have something useful to say? If not, consider if you should interview someone better placed
 

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