The Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) has organized a two-day workshop to train journalists and editors covering health activities in Abuja.
Speaking during the programme, the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Wondi Alemu, said that the workshop was organized to enrich health journalists on the WHO’s mandate in supporting the federal government’s health agenda towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.
Specific objectives of the workshop include:
- To mobilize journalists against negative reporting regarding public health intervention programmes.
- To improve the knowledge and skill of journalists in reporting, writing and editing diseases outbreak and other healthcare stories.
- To provide journalists with first-hand information from key programme officers on the support provided by WHO to the government of Nigeria.
- To empower journalists through experience sharing on how to write and edit stores better.
- To encourage journalists on the need to investigate and ensure data and evidence-based health reporting, and
- To orient journalists on the WHO communication framework and community engagement.
In his message to participants at the training programme, the Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, represented by the Director, Media and Public Relations, FMOH, Mrs. Boade Akinola said that health issue is not a one-man business. “It is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders including media practitioners”.
He said the Ministry of Health is to coordinate health activities, provide leadership and conducive environments for partners to support the health sector.
Adewole said that health journalists had great role to play in providing the public with information aimed at preventing and controlling disease outbreaks in Nigeria. He urged the trained journalists to bring to bear, the knowledge acquired during the training in the practice of their profession. He added that the Ministry of Health and the WHO office were planning to initiate Journalists’ Award to those who perform excellently in their reportage.
In her submission, the WHO Communication specialist, Ms. Charity Warigon urged journalists to work hard and focus more on investigative reporting. She said, “Reward for hard work is certain, though it may not come immediately, it would eventually come”.
She called on the journalists to avoid sensational reporting. This, she said could cause more havoc then good to the health system in Nigeria.
Participants were drawn from Print, Electronic and Online media.