WHO and health ministry to award outstanding journalists

Gloria Essien

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The World Health Organisation and the Nigerian Ministry of Health are instituting awards for health journalists in Nigeria.

This was disclosed at a Two Day Training for Health Journalists, in Abuja.

The training was aimed at enlightening  health journalists of the activities of the WHO in Nigeria.

The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, explained that the workshop was aimed at engaging journalists who are covering the health sector on how to report WHO’s mandate in supporting the Nigerian government

On his part, WHO’s Dr. Rex Mpazanje, urged journalists to use their platforms to scale up interventions in the health sector.

In his message, the Nigerian minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said he supports the award for journalists covering the health sector initiated by the WHO and promised sponsor one category of the award categories.

He also charged the journalists at the training to be objective and unbiased  in their reportage.

He said objective reports would enable the government and the general public, have a better understanding of the challenges affecting the health sector.

Professor  Adewole added that all issues reported would be promptly attended to

The minister who was represented by the Director, Media and Public Relations of the ministry, Mrs Boade Akinola, urged journalists to remain committed and contribute their quota by giving Nigerians the right information that would improve their health status.

“If people have the right information and also live right, disease burden will be reduced and people can be free to run around for their daily activities.

On his part, Professor Umaru Pate of the Faculty of Communication, Bayero University, Kano, charged journalists to strive at all times ”to impart the right information, to the right people, in the right way, at the right time”.

Various papers were on the role of WHO as well as journalistic principles were  also presented at the training.

Presenting a paper titled: Journalists, Social Responsibility and the Reporting of Public Health in Nigeria, Professor  Pate, identified some challenges confronting the media practitioners to include professional inadequacies ,commercialisation, absence of monitoring and evaluation mechanism, funding, low interest on issues of health amongst others.

Participants at the workshop were drawn from both the print, broadcast and online media outlets in Nigeria.