Alvine Kapitako Windhoek-World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative in Namibia Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses on Monday met with journalists who have an interest in health reporting to consult on the possibility of forming an association for health journalists in Namibia. Speaking at the consultative meeting, Sagoe-Moses said the public can make informed decisions regarding their health only when they are provided with the correct information. This, he said, makes journalists crucial stakeholders in disseminating the needed information. Public health advocates and researchers see a role for the media in conveying important health messages and awareness campaigns, such as immunisation, HIV prevention and adherence to treatment, especially in the case of long-term illness and health conditions. It is thus imperative to ensure health reporting is accurate, unbiased and complete, according to a concept note compiled by the health promotion officer at WHO, Celia Kaunatjike. Until recently, public health practitioners, researchers, medical journals and independent groups have done little to assist journalists to interpret scientific developments for the public, said Kaunatjike. “There is increasing attention on quality and accuracy of health reporting. Academic institutions and other groups have established associations of health journalists to capacitate health journalists in producing high quality health stories,” Kaunatjike added. Sagoe-Moses said the association would be for journalists and they will be the ones to run it. “The media and we who are in public health have the same objective, which is to give the right information. We are in the same boat and therefore we need to work together,” he said. He stressed that information packaged in a “user-friendly” manner would assist the public to make informed decisions and encouraged the journalists to decide and agree on how the association would operate. He said the WHO and health stakeholders would not have influence on the association’saffairs. He also said the issue of incentives should be looked at. “Competition for health journalists helps with improving the quality,” Sagoe-Moses added. The reporters present agreed that forming an association for health journalists would be a great idea and agreed on the next meeting date, where further details would be discussed.
2017-09-07 09:59:18 1 years ago