The World Health Organisation WHO in collaboration with Adamawa state ministry of health trained over 50 Journalist and social media influencers on wholesome health reporting.
The three-day workshop which was aimed at improving skills beyond mere informative reporting to health behavioural outcome reporting placed emphasis on the need for journalists to launch into prompt and early reporting of epidemic-prone diseases in order to compel authorities into action.
It also sought to increase the preponderance of lifesaving information on the mass media and social platforms so as to enable at-risk populations to take informed decision to protect themselves from disease infections.
Speaking to journalists at the event, Kingsley Igwebuike, WHO’s Communication
Resource person, charged journalists to imbibe the principles of Risk Communication while reporting an outbreak of a disease so as to curb the number of fatalities.
He pointed out that journalists should be the first to report an outbreak of disease, in a factual, credible manner and express empathy that will promote action.
Igwebuike added that Risk Communication creates stability and ends crisis, which gives readers and listeners the confidence and willingness to take action and improve the credibility of the media outfit.
The resource person also said that the media should also be transparent in their health reportage that will define the expected behaviour or rationale of people which requires the adoption by stakeholders.
Ahemen Terseer, Adamawa State Coordinator of the WHO, in his presentation also explained, ‘What the public needs to know about the diseases.’
He stressed the need for journalists to proactively enlighten members of the public on the importance of personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness as basics for healthy living.
He called on journalists to focus their reportage on how people should change their behaviour in relation to health issues by being conscious of how they relate with others in the community which will go a long way in helping curtail the spread of disease.
Delivering his lecture on the topic ‘Overview of epidemic-prone diseases’, Isah Salihu enlightened participants on the need to be careful when reporting such health issues (diphtheria, monkeypox, lassa fever, cholera meningitis, measles, etc) in the BAY states.