The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria is set to train 45 journalists selected across the country on accountability and impactful reporting of the health sector.
Lanre Arogundade, the executive director of IPC, said the training was necessitated by a recent survey on coverage of health issues by some selected Nigerian dailies.
According to Mr Arogundade, the outcome of the survey informed planning of a capacity building program for print, broadcast and online journalists in the South-south, South-west and South-east geo-political zones of the country.
He said in carrying out the survey, four Nigerian newspapers – The Punch, Daily Sun, Vanguard and Premium Times were monitored for December 2020.
“The newspapers were randomly selected for the survey to have baseline information on the state of media reporting of health issues ahead of the training of 45 Nigerian journalists on accountability and impactful reporting of the health sector from this month.”
The CEO IPC said further that: “It is good that the concerned newspapers gave robust coverage to health issues particularly the Covid-19 pandemic but there were noticeable gaps in such areas as prominence, sources and so on”.
“The fact that Covid-19 was the most covered issue during the period probably explains why the majority of the reports were derived from events, press releases and press conferences, but what we want to see is more investigative efforts in the reporting of accountability issues in health care service delivery”, Mr Arogundade explained.
The seasoned journalists and trainer of media practitioners “it is worth reiterating that the baseline survey and the planned training are part of the 6-month ‘Media in Health Care Accountability Project (MeHCAP) being implemented by IPC with the support of the US Consulate General in Lagos.”
He said the proposed training is within the context of a strategic initiative of building and rebuilding the capacity of the media to serve as effective catalysts of fundamental health care reforms following the weaknesses in the system exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All we seek to do is to encourage investigative and community-driven health reporting initiatives to ensure the emergence of functional hospitals and other health care facilities which can only happen if we have the next generation of investigative health journalists whose reporting would be data, fact and solution-driven”.