RMNCAEH+N: Federal Ministry of Health and Health Journalists inaugurate 7-man committee for Health Media Coalition

The Coordinator of Africa Health Budget Network, AHBN, Dr. Aminu Magashi says the Media Engagement Strategy for Health Promotion in Nigeria (RMNCAEH+N) will help to boost the much needed health literacy among Nigerians.

AHBN Coordinator, represented by the Programmes Officer at AHBN, Dr. Obinna Onuoha stressed that the coalition has birthed the much needed synergy between the Ministry of Health and the Media to promote Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Childhood, Adolescent and the Elderly Health plus Nutrition, RMNCAEH+N policies and programmes.

Speaking to our Correspondent Frank Ajufo in Abuja at a One-Day Sensitisation Meeting on Operationalisation of the Strategy, Dr. Magashi also expressed optimism that the strategy will bring about a positive change in the current poor health indices emanating from Nigeria.

“It is very imperative that we are constituting a Health Media Coalition Team between the Federal Ministry of Health and the Health Journalists because it is very vital for information on health to get out to the Nigerian population.

“In a teeming population of over 200 million people, information as they say is power – information is key – and it is very helpful when the media and the ministry of health can work effectively together to ensure that policies around Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Childhood, Adolescent, Elderly Health and Nutrition are made available promptly, timely and of course factual information that is being provided to all the population with the intention to save lives. Because it is in this way that we can continue to ensure health literacy in our country.

“So yes, it is very timely and it is something that needs to be sustained. So as much as possible, while we are still in the beginning stage of this Health Media Coalition Team, we are looking forward to ensuring that development partners and donors key into this and support the ministry of health and the health journalists in doing this work.”

Representing the Director, Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Salma Anas, the Director of Health Promotions Division of the Ministry, Dr. Ladidi Bako-Aiyegbusi explained that the strategy brings to bare the expectations of the Ministry regarding promotion of Nigeria’s health Agenda.

Dr. Anas noted that the media plays an important role in the promotion of health policies and programmes but available data demonstrates the opportunity has been largely underutilized.

“The critical role of the media in creating awareness on issues of public health importance cannot be overemphasized, however, available information shows that there is limited utilization of available media platforms by the health sector for dissemination of health related information to the public as well as showcasing the activities and achievements of the Federal Ministry of Health.

“This has resulted to quite unpleasant situations like poor health seeking behaviours among the populace, due to misinformation, rumours, myths and to a large extent cultural beliefs. To change this situation, the Family Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health – Health Promotions Division to be precise, in collaboration with key actors in the media sector developed the maiden Media Engagement Strategy for Health Promotion Strategy in Nigeria.”

High point of the meeting was the inauguration of a seven-man committee to steer the affairs of the Health Media Coalition HMC.

“Mrs. L. K. Bako-Aiyegbusi: Head, Health Promotion Division FMoH as Chairperson; Head, Media and Public Relations FMoH as Secretary; Mr. Hassan Zaggi, President of Association of Nigeria Health Journalists ANHEJ – member; Gloria Essien of Voice of Nigeria, VON, and Secretary of ANHEJ – member; Mrs. Stella Jibrin, Nigeria Press Council – Regulatory Agency; Mr. Joseph Kadiri ITV – member; and Nike Adebowale-Tambe – member.

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