ANHEJ started as a beat association in Lagos many years back. It was championed in its formative years by Veterans like Chief (Mrs) Moji Makanjuola and many others. In Abuja, however, Veterans including Godwin Odimijie deput the association with the sole aim of ensuring fake journalists are kept at a distance from destroying the reputation of the accredited journalists. Few years after the association went moribund.
ln 2008, however, Ruby Leo and Winifred Ogbebo, mobilized colleagues on the health beat to seek ways of getting sponsorship for professional development programmes for members. They also aimed to use the group to change poor perception of journalists by public office holders at the time. The association was then known as Health Correspondent Association of Nigeria, HECAN.
They could however achieve a little, as the term “beat association” is strongly prohibited by most media houses. Four years later, Hassan Zaggi (current Health Editor, The Authority Newspapers) and Marcus Fatunmole (Editor, Gado online) took over leadership of the association in acting capacities.
At a congress held months later, members agreed that special skills are needed for health reporting, hence the need to specialise the beat. The members further agreed that there was the need to metamorphose the association into a professional institution. That brought about the birth of ANHEJ.
Hassan and Marcus subsequently registered ANHEJ at the Corporate Affairs Commission in August 2013, with registration number CAC/IT/No 80798. Following the registration of ANHEJ at the CAC, the first election of the association was conducted in May 2016, and produced the following executives:
However, three years after, in June 2019, another sector election was held and new leadership emerged.
The members of the current Executives include:
Full membership shall be opened to accredited journalists from recognized mass media, both print and electronic. accreditation will however not be extended to representatives of in-house journals or newsletters, cable networks, independent producers, web journal (online blogs and media) and weekly publications as the association is a purely professional body. Only full members attend Congress of ANHEJ where major decisions affecting the association are taken, including change of leadership. The organization currently has about 40 financial members.
Associate membership shall be opened to successful journalists who have made tremendous contributions to health and related beats. And, such shall be decided at the Congress. Beneficiaries attend only the Annual Conference of the ANHEJ. They do not vote.
Honorary membership is won by organizations and persons who have made exceptional contributions to the nation’s health sector. Beneficiaries attend only the Annual Conference of ANHEJ. They do not vote.