By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
World Health Organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare recently completed a two-day capacity building workshop for health journalists on health reporting, held at a local hotel in Bijilo.
During the training, participants were exposed to various topics like TB in the country, updates on major communicable diseases, investigative reporting, and proposal writing among other related issues.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Aisha Davids-Ann, director department of information services, who spoke on behalf of the minister of information described the training as timely as it aims to build the capacity of journalists on health reporting.
She said WHO has long been supportive in building the capacity of health journalists through training and information sharing on pertinent health issues.
According to her, health and communication experts need to work closely to help the general public to understand information generated on health related issues.
She assured of her ministry’s readiness to support WHO and the ministry of health to promote initiatives that enhance communication given the fact that health and communication are interdependent.
For his part Dr. Desta Tiruneh, WHO country representative said his organization values the work of health journalists as critical to the attainment of the organization’s goal and objectives. He added that making people healthier calls for a well-informed society and communication is therefore a central pillar of the work of WHO in improving global health.
He stressed that his organization will continue to build the capacity of journalists for better health communication or reporting.
He urged the participants to make sure they understand the subject matter before going to interview an expert, a minister or any official or before attending a press conference.
Dr. Cherno Barry, permanent secretary ministry of health and social welfare, thanked WHO for its immeasurable guidance and support to his ministry in achieving the milestone earlier alluded, noting that the association of health journalists is a proud baby of WHO and his ministry.
He said it was formed in 2001 through the support of WHO that trained the first cohort of journalists in health reporting in the Gambia, saying sixteen years today the association has become an active partner for health communication in the Gambia.
The program was chaired by Momodou Gassama, the WHO focal person for Non- Communicable diseases.