Ms Charity Warigon, a Media and Communication Specialist with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Nigeria office, has advised journalists covering the health beat to ensure they adhered with all COVID-19 protocols.
Warigon, who gave the advice at a 3-day Annual Health Conference of ANHEJ on “COVID-19 Reportage Assessment’’ at Goshen City, Nasarawa State, however, commended the journalists for doing their best in reporting the COVID-19 pandemic effectively in the country.
“I will say with a huge degree of confidence that with COVID-19, you have done well but there is still room for improvement.
“Things were very influential in shaping attitude, behaviour, in creating awareness. Please, let us close that gap and do things more seriously. You should do what you preach by obeying COVID-19 protocol and wear your face masks,’’ she said.
Warigon expressed satisfaction with the performance of health correspondents in their reportage of COVID-19, saying, “I can see from the work we have done with journalists, the role of the media.
“I can see an increasing role of journalists in public health; I see the crucial role that journalists play in public health and supporting Universal Health Coverage and public health currently addressing the issue with infodemic.
“I just attended a WHO course on infodemic management as from what I heard from other countries, Nigeria is not doing badly at all from what I observed.
“Having said that, this is the time to look at what we have done, what the best practices are and lessons learnt. For instance, during Ebola, Nigerian journalists made my work easier and during polio eradication, Nigerian journalist made my work easier,’’ she said.
According to her, the WHO was committed to improving its collaboration with the media, through the Federal Ministry of Health, but going forward she would like to see the journalists engage more in investigative reporting rather than depending on press releases.
In his remarks, Dr Obi Adigwe, the Director-General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), commended health journalists for their role in reporting the pandemic.
Adigwe, represented by Idah Emmanuel, said the journalists had adequately educated the public through their reportage of COVID-19, he said.
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that at the event, ANHEJ gave awards to eight personalities who contributed to the development of the health sector in the country, including Dr Walter Kazadi, WHO representative in Nigeria, Dr Obi Adigwe, the Director-General of NIPRD and Mrs Moji Makanjuola, the Chief Executive Officer, International Society of Media in Public Health, among others.
Also, five journalists were given awards for their dedication and hard work in reporting health issues. They include: Mr Hassan Zaggi of Authority newspaper (online category); Ojoma Akor of Daily Trust (newspaper category) and Joseph Kadiri (Television), while Frank Ajulo of Vision FM won the radio category.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three-day conference, which began on Friday, is expected to end on Sunday.