Me­dia urged to pay at­ten­tion to health is­sues

Daily Trust - - HEALTH - By Nahimah Ajikanle Nu­rudeen and Bukola Ojeyemi, La­gos

The me­dia have be­ing urged to pay more at­ten­tion to sto­ries that bor­der on health mat­ters by mak­ing health re­lated is­sues para­mount in reporting.

La­gos State For­mer Com­mis­sioner for Health, Dr. Leke Pi­tan made the call at the of­fi­cial launch of Hala Nigeria Story Chal­lenge in La­gos.

Hala Nigeria Story Chal­lenge is an ini­tia­tive of the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for Jour­nal­ists (ICFJ) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with African Health Jour­nal­ist of Nigeria (AHJA) which aims to im­prove pub­lic in­for­ma­tion on health mat­ters, in­crease pub­lic en­gage­ment and am­plify cit­i­zens’ voices in health news.

Ac­cord­ing to him, health sto­ries get low read­er­ship daily in Nige­rian news­pa­pers be­cause most me­dia houses pay lit­tle at­ten­tion to them.

Pi­tan made ref­er­ence to a sur­vey con­ducted on read­er­ship of all sec­tion in the dailies where po­lit­i­cal and other pages recorded high read­er­ship than health pages.

He called for strate­gies that would al­low health re­lated is­sues be­come lead sto­ries in dailies.

Pi­tan also stressed the need for the me­dia to pub­lish health is­sues that the read­ers would be able to com­ment.

Mean­while, the Di­rec­tor of African Health Jour­nal­ist of Nigeria (AHJA) Mr. De­clan Ok­palaeke said the pur­pose of HALA Nigeria is to ed­u­cate jour­nal­ists on the need to re­flect the people’s voice in the health is­sues they re­port.

He queried why there was low re­sponse of pub­lic com­men­ta­tors on health is­sues com­pared to other so­ci­etal mat­ters raised by the me­dia.

But­tress­ing Pi­tan’s view, a me­dia con­sul­tant, Cece Fadope ad­vised that pub­lic health is­sues should be re­ported in a com­pelling way if this trend must change.

A multimedia jour­nal­ist Mr. Tunde Akpeji stated that the idea of Hala project is to in­crease cit­i­zens en­gage­ment in jour­nal­ism on is­sues con­cern­ing health in the so­ci­ety.

He said the ICFJ has over 62 vi­brant cit­i­zen jour­nal­ists in the Niger Delta area and the or­ga­ni­za­tion is will­ing to ex­pand its net­work for ef­fec­tive jour­nal­ism.

PHOTO: BAYELSA GOVT.

Gover­nor of Bayelsa State, Se­ri­ake Dick­son (cen­tre) ex­plain­ing a point shortly af­ter in­spect­ing the Specialist Hospi­tal un­der con­struc­tion atToruOrua as part of ac­tiv­i­ties mark­ing two years of his Restora­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion, while his Deputy, re­tired Rear Ad­mi­ral Gboribiogha John Jonah (left) and the Com­mis­sioner for Works and In­fra­struc­ture, Mr.Lawrence Ewhrud­jak­por (right) look on.

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