By Maxwell Awumah, GNA Special Correspondent, Brussels, Belgium
Brussels, Belgium, March 20, GNA - Mr Declan Okpalaeke, President of African Health Journalism Association (AHJA), said media people need to cross the entire spectrum in the reportage of reproductive and maternal health commodities and supply-chain.
He said journalists should familiarize and explore issues from gamut of infrastructure, human resource, procurement, governance issues, budget and financing gaps as well as implementation of statutes.
Mr Okpalaeke was leading training for selected journalists from Africa at a Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) workshop in Brussels, Belgium.
It was under the auspices of Concept Foundation, Development Communications Network (Devcoms), AHJA and partners aimed at increasing visibility for the reportage of reproductive and maternal health issues towards stimulating growth in that sector especially in Africa.
“Journalists must interrogate the tools, examine availability and use, question efficacy, look at research and new developments as well as the logistics of supply chains,” would leverage the media as a watchdog in saving women and children from avoidable deaths.
Mr Okpalaeke admonished journalists to “let case studies with human angles be the entry point for pitching stories but always look through a broader prism with focus on public good, correction and progress”.
He cautioned journalists to sparingly use acronyms as it had the tendency to kill stories rendering it clumsy and disinterest readers, stressing “Kill acronyms or kill your story.”
Mr Akin Jimoh, President of Development Communications Network, called on the journalists to remain professional at all times distancing themselves from labels such as advocates or campaigners especially in matters of reproductive and maternal health.
He said though some aspects of media work fell into advocacy roles, journalism reaches to impact and has the ability to change a policy direction for public good, protection and development.
He said advocate journalism therefore was suitable for education and will inform for public good.
Mr Jimoh said journalist’s knowledge, skills and understanding of the issues affected the language of the ordinary person at the grassroot or community level and speeds up change, which advocacy journalism was limited to because its took time and perhaps political will to achieve.
He said skill development and access to information for journalist in Africa and other developing countries could lead to quality reporting, improved public health literacy and behaviourial change, which eluded advocacy journalism.