MNCH2 engages Editors in quest for improved healthcare reporting

Posted by Garba Muhammad, Kaduna | 20 September 2018 | 1,749 times

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The Maternal, Newborn and Child Health programme in Northern Nigeria (MNCH2) on Wednesday, held a one-day editorial roundtable with editors and media executives across six states of the north as part of efforts to find a solution to the alarming rate of maternal and child mortality in the northern parts of the country.

The meeting was used to brainstorm on emerging evidence and resources on maternal and child health and how the media can contribute in reducing the indices of maternal and child mortality in six states, namely Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa and Yobe.

Safiya Isa, an MNCH2 facilitator during Health in the Media session, set the discussion with a presentation on recent health story coverage.

She said the outcome indicator of MNCH2 contribution in Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina Yobe and Zamfara states from 2014 till date, recorded 4,410,777 children so far immunised with 1,644,972 additional women using modern family planning method.

She further stated that, the indicator also recorded 1,147,396 pregnant women delivered by skilled birth attendants, while 2,833,833 attended Anti Natal Care (ANC).

“Our outcome indicator on newborn and mother who receive immediate care are in the six states also covered by MNCH2 are put at 595,559,” she added.

Abubakar Ahmed, an editor with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and Acting Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ) Zamfara State Council, enumerated some barriers of health reporting to include lack of knowledge of journalists ton reporting maternal and child health care (MNCH), self censorship, religious and cultural belief.

Other factors militating against journalists reporting on health, according to Mr. Abubakar are threat and intimidation, lack of internal support, non-co-operation from stakeholders, bottlenecks to accessing information, commercialisation, inadequate funding/logistics as well as insecurity especially in the North East and some parts of North West.

Umar Sawed Tudun Wada, the Managing Director, Radio Kano, in his contribution, called on development partners to support media organisation featuring health programmes through sponsorship.

He advised reporters and producers of health programme to continue to make the necessary sacrifice in attaining a healthy society.

“For the health producer/reporters, sacrifice in reporting the health sector is sacrosanct. The concept of sacrifice is really sacrosanct but should cut across, government, legislators, development partners and other stakeholders,” he said.

He lamented major challenges of infrastructure in the broadcast media organisations, adding that, “even government-owned media organisation are no longer being funded.”

News Express Regional Editor Garba Muhammad was among editors and media executives from six states who assembled in Kaduna for the editorial roundtable.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Dr Suleiman Dauda said the media has a great role in ensuring that reporting the health sector is done in line with its social responsibility of ensuring solution base reporting and effective service delivery.

He called on participants to collaborate and sustain the relationship amongst each other for an improved and effective healthcare delivery.

“The media can be supported to bring the desired change especially in the health sector,” he added.

Dr Ashiru Hamza, an advocacy accountability in his presentation on the alarming situation of the nation’s health indices disclosed that, “in every ten minutes 528 newborns are dying every day which needs a strong collaboration to change the tide.”

Other papers presented included that of Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor with a paper, “How to link health with politics”; Bashar Abubakar presented a paper, “Why health journalism is a political win-win”; while a paper, “What does this mean for the editors” was presented by Chibuike Alagboso.

At the end of the roundtable, participants discussed next steps and made commitments on improved reporting to promote effective service delivery aimed at reducing maternal mortality and child mortality rate in the six-state of the north represented.

Editors and media executives at the MNCH2 editorial roundtable in Kaduna. Photo: Garba Muhammad

Source: News Express

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