by Juliana K. Tauna, Kaduna
A six-month Media-in-Health-Care-Accountability Project in which the emergence of a crop of next generation investigative health reporters will be facilitated by the International Press Centre will kick off in December.
The project seeks to enhance the capacity of the media and younger generation journalists to serve as effective catalysts of fundamental health care reforms as well as monitor government response and utilization of funds allocated to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and other health emergencies.
This was contained in a statement signed by the IPC Program Manager, Stella Nwofia, on behalf of Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, saying that the project will be supported by the US Consulate-General, Lagos-Nigeria.
“It is all about upping the ante of the constitutional obligation imposed on the media to monitor governance and hold government accountable to the people.
“It is in that context that the project will seek to assist journalists to ensure health care sector accountability and service delivery because of the failures that Covid-19 have laid bare,” the direction said.
According to him, the project will start with a one-month baseline assessment exercise of current trends in media reporting of health care issues, and the outcome shall be used to design the capacity building , which will be organized in the later part of the project.
He added that the outcomes will also be used to engage with media managers on the need to improve health sector reporting.
The director said that the the program will be gaining towards building the capacity of young and mid-career journalists, which will be drawn from the print, online and broadcast media outlets in the three geopolitical zones of South West, South-South and South East.
He noted that participants will be journalists, who are committed to reporting issues of governance, accountability and transparency in the health sector and are willing to help provide solutions to identified problems.
Lanre further explained that the selection of the journalists shall, therefore, be competitive, and there will be a call for expression of interest on IPC’s website (www.ipcng.org ) and the organization’s social media platforms.
Mr. Arogundade said that this is the first phase of *MeHCA-P and expresses
the hope that other development partners and donors would partner with IPC on the project so it could benefit many more journalists across the country.
“We hope we would have the funding support to produce the next generation health care investigative reporters in each local government, each state and each geo-political zone of Nigeria,” he added.