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Health Experts Charge Journalists on Agenda Setting for Health Sector

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Health Experts Charge Journalists on Agenda Setting for Health Sector

Moji Makanjuola

As COVID-19 continue to unravel the state of the Nigerian health system, experts in the health sector have charged the media and journalists reporting the health on agenda setting for the purpose of realisable policy formation and critical infrastructural development.

The experts gave the charge at the 4th Annual Health Conference of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ) themed: COVID-19 REPORTAGE ASSESSMENT in Nassarawa State.

Speaking during her paper presentation titled: “Assessing Covid-19 Reportage In Nigeria”, Mrs Moji Makanjuola, CEO International Society of Media In Public Health (ISMPH), noted that while many media persons listened only to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, they usually repeat what has been said neglecting the tenets of journalism practice to assuage the power that be.

She said: “The media owe the human race the duty of disseminating information in a realistic, positive change effecting, and ameliorating manner. Without evoking panic and fear, we can give a picture of reality and how to mitigate the imminent disasters.

“We can improve dispositions, douse fear, anger, and anxiety and replace them with positive action when we act right.

“We could have been more investigative. We could have been more Vox Populi Vox Dei to find out how people felt. We could have bridged the information gap in a timely, concerted and organized manner– after all we are the professionals.

“We should not have left our turf to the ignorant, the untrained and uneducated. Many people can read and write but not all of them are journalists nor do they have the news nose and analytics that we have for news and its impact.”

Similarly, the representative of World Health Organisation (WHO), Charity Warigon in her good will message urge health Journalist to strengthen their sensitization and awareness creation effort due to their agenda setting roke in shaping behaviours and attitudes in the fight against COVID-19.

The President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalist (ANHEJ) Hassan Zaggi, said although Covid -19 pandemic has changed tge way we do things to a New Normal, journalists especially health reporters should not throw professionalism to the wind in the course of discharge of their duties.

According to him, “Balanced and accurate reportage can not be overlooked in the process of dissemination of information concerning COVID-19.”

He also encouraged fellow colleagues not to allow their passion for health journalism to be deterred by the uncondusive working environment in Nigeria.

The 3-days conference was aimed at critically assessing the roles of the media in the fight against COVID-19, it’s effect and also to identify various ways to effectively present facts and figures to the public for better understanding of how to arm themselves against the dreaded virus.

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Health Experts Charge Journalists on Agenda Setting for Health Sector

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