The International Press Centre, IPC, has disclosed its readiness to train 45 Nigerian Journalists on accountability and impactful reporting of the health sector from the month of April, 2021.
The IPC disclosed this on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, while releasing the report of the one-month survey of coverage of health issues by four Nigerian newspapers for the month of December 2020.
The newspapers, The Punch, Daily Sun, Vanguard and Premium Times, were randomly selected for the survey in order to have baseline information on the state of media reporting of health issues ahead of the training.
According to a press statement signed by its Programme Manager, Mr Sanmi Falobi, IPC noted that the summary of the outcome of the one-month survey showed that while the specific issue of COVID-19 accounted for 65.7% of the relevant reports, ’maternal health’’ had 5.3%; ‘’malaria/typhoid’’, 3% and ‘’diabetes’’ 2.4%. Coverage of ‘’Cancer’’ was 2%; ‘’public health’’, 0.9%; ‘’mental health’’, 0.48% and ‘’Other viral infections’’, 0.48%.
The statement added that most of the sources used were “Government officials’’ (28.2%); “Health Professionals’’, (23.2%); “Health Institutions/ Authorities’’ as sources accounted for (11%); “Professional Bodies’’, (5.35%); “Development/ Donor community’’ and “CSOs’’ (5% each); “Foreign health institutions’’, (4.6%); “Citizens’’, (4%,) and “Other Professionals’’ (0.36%,). The category “Others” was 13.2%.
The Executive Director of IPC, Mr Lanre Arogundade, explained that: “The fact that COVID-19 was the most covered issue during the period probably explained why 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”.
According to him, the outcome of the monitoring will now be factored into the capacity building program planned for Print, Broadcast and Online Journalists in the South-South, South-West and South-East Geo-political zones of the country; noting that this 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.
Mr Arogundade added 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 and sources.