The Health Watch Foundation (HCF), a non-governmental organisation, on Thursday in Abuja signed an agreement with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on solutions journalism in Africa.
Mr Buki Ponle, Managing Director of NAN, expressed the agency’s commitment towards raising awareness on health issues through solutions journalism.
Solutions journalism investigates and explains, in a critical and clear-eyed way, how people try to solve widely shared problems.
Ponle said that NAN would provide the needed assistance to the foundation to actualise its vision.
He emphasised the need to continue to address public health issues and raise health awareness in the country.
According to him, we will help actualise your vision, just count on NAN when it comes to this and I am giving you the assurance.
“Solutions journalism is the in-thing, yes we serve the audience with breaking news but we want to see what the breaking news has achieved.
“How people have benefited from the breaking news, how the market woman who sells oranges should also know she should be a partaker of the oranges.
“You sell carrot, mango and other fruits that have vitamin A but you are not a partaker.
“Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) is retrogressing but we still have few cases due to lack of iodine in the food; what about zinc deficiency, maternal mortality is still raging so we have to address these and see to their end.
“We have to ensure that everybody benefits and the money doesn’t go down the drain, the funders, the donors are happy to put the money where they did.
“We have been talking about government not providing enough but let’s see what the little it has provided has achieved, what is the measurable thing the story has made,’’ Ponle said.
Earlier, Mrs Vivianne Ihekweazu, Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch, said that the eight-month training for three NAN journalists would focus largely on health issues and challenges facing Nigerians.
“The initiative is a practical solutions journalism in Nigeria and the aim is to show Nigerians and showcase and report on news showing that people, communities and individuals are responding to challenges in their environment.
“We will use it as a platform to positively learn and be able to use these interventions to improve the outcomes of health, education and the welfare of all Nigerians,’’ Ihekweazu said.
Mr Chibuike Alagboso, Health Journalist, Nigeria Health Watch, said solutions journalism would reposition Nigeria to where the citizens envision it to be.
“What we are trying to do is to paint the other narrative. 80 per cent of the time when you turn on the media what you see is what is wrong with Nigeria. Solutions journalism wants to change that narrative.
“With the reach NAN has we want to show what is going right and with the challenges there are people working hard to change that narrative.
“To us NAN is the foremost agency in Nigeria to ensure that Nigerians are informed of what is going on in different aspects of our society especially health,’’ Alagboso said. (NAN)
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