The World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment (HIM) Lead, Dr. Geoffrey Namara, has urged the Nigeria media on effective communication of Covid-19.
Namara made the call in Auta Belefi on Friday, during a two-day annual conference of the Association of Health Journalists (ANHEJ) in Nasarawa state.
In a presentation, entitled:” Understanding Key Outbreak Metrics for Accurate Reporting,” he said it was unfortunate that conspiracy theories, misinformation and other factors were preventing many Nigerians from accepting Covid-19 vaccines.
Namara urged health journalists to use the event to brainstorm with critical stakeholders on relevant information that would convince Nigerians to accept the Covid-19 vaccines.
He said: “Public health is key in community awareness and the media plays a vital role in reaching the communities. Effective communication guides the public towards appropriate services and treatment which helps to prevent or reduce the spread of the disease.
“Misinformation poses a great threat to response efforts. Journalists must be equipped with relevant knowledge to ensure proper reporting in a health emergence.”
The coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Dr. Aminu Garba, also said Nigeria’s health system was a work in progress
Garba, represented by the senior programme and partnership officer, Africa Health Budget Network, Dr. Obinna Onuoha, said the providing quality health for all Nigerians had been a major bane of our development.
Garba said the pandemic had been almost two years post-Covid-19 and Nigerians were still taking steps to normalise the health system.
“As health journalists, you have the mandate to ask the hard questions that no one wants to attempt, such as the type, nature and duration of funding support for every recovery plan.”