Towards deepening its involvement in the regeneration of Nigeria’s health sector, Swiss healthcare pioneer, Roche Products Limited has launched Nigeria’s foremost Health Journalists Academy, which is aimed at enriching health reportage and coverage in the country by sharpening the skills of health journalists through exposure to the latest trends and techniques for specialized reporting.
Organized in partnership with the School of Media and Communication (SMC) at the prestigious Pan-Atlantic University, the Academy will see the leading pharmaceutical company funding the training of 15 Nigeria Health Journalists drawn from the Print, Broadcast and New Media whose work will heighten awareness of health-related issues and promote healthy living among Nigerians.
Announcing the initiative at the unveiling ceremony of the first set of 15 beneficiaries at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, the Country Manager, Nigeria, at Roche, Herman Addae, disclosed that the Health Journalists Academy will contribute significantly to improving awareness of health issues among Nigerians.
Addae said, “We are convinced that our duty as a responsible corporate citizen goes beyond manufacturing and selling medication and medical devices. We have therefore decided to explore a new way to improve healthcare delivery in Nigeria.”
He added, “Recent studies indicate that Nigerians view good health as the absence of medical symptoms instead of a holistic reflection of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. This is typically demonstrated by late presentation of diseases and eventual high mortality from preventable deaths. Generally, there is poor public awareness about diseases burden in Nigeria. Although, there are areas in the country where healthcare facilities could be seen as improving, there is poor public awareness about health and diseases. There is the need therefore to engage journalists; who are positioned by virtue of their professional calling to advance the cause of the nation’s health through their reportage and coverage of health sector”
Commending Roche on the initiative, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Linus Awute (ably represented by the Director of Health planning, Dr Ngozi Azodoh), encouraged the Top 15 participants to be change agents for the Nigerian Health sector and make good use of the knowledge they will acquire at the Academy.
Mr. Awute stated, “I believe this Academy will infuse new energy into health reporting in Nigeria. I applaud the vision and sense of commitment of the Roche team and it is my expectation that the Top 15 journalists who are beneficiaries of this Academy will diligently apply the knowledge they will obtain, to encourage and galvanize the change in Nigeria’s health sector.”
In August, the Health Journalists Academy was open to Nigerian journalists across the Traditional and New Media platforms. Entries were submitted on ‘The Future of Journalism in Nigeria”, collated and vetted by an independent panel of Judges. Over 30 candidates were shortlisted and invited for a one-one-one interview out of which 15 emerged as the first set of beneficiaries. All candidates will receive an accredited certification from Roche and SMC at the end of the Academy.