By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri

The World Health Organization, WHO, in collaboration with the Borno State Ministry of Health, has organised a three-day simultaneuous workshop to working journalists and social media influencers in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, BAY, states on behavioral change reporting in public health emergencies.

The workshop was also aimed at improving increased preponderance of lifesaving information on mass media and social media platforms to enable at-risk population to make informed decisions to protect themselves from infectious diseases.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, which held at the Grand Pinnacle Hotel, Maiduguri, on Monday, a WHO official, Mr Kingsley Igwebuike, said, “The objective of the workshop was to improve the skills of journalists and social media influencers beyond mere information reporting  to health behavior outcome reporting.

“This workshop will include key presentations on epidemic prone diseases, an overview of WHO mandates in health emergencies; risk communication aimed at equipping participants with the skills to report health behavior outcomes accurately and effectively.

“Improve kind of content and credible information in terms of health care emergency and transparency in public health response.”

Mr Igwebuike added that “transparency is important in public health response, because it helps to build credibility, make principles of emergency risk communication to ensure targeted and report preventive messages to safe lives.”

The workshop had in attendance 50 journalists and social media participants, drawn from various media organizations and social media platforms, which was aimed at proper equipping the participants with the necessary skills to go beyond mere informative reporting and focus on health behavior outcome reporting.

In his remarks, the Executive Director, Borno State Primary Health Care Development Agency, SPHCDA, Dr. Lawi Mshelia, commended the WHO for the workshop, describing it as timely, as it provides the participants the opportunity to know the importance of accurate and timely information in public health emergencies.

Represented by a Director in the agency, Hajia Fati, Mshelia said that the media plays a great role in the dissemination of information to the general public, and as such, it is crucial for journalists and social media influencers to be equipped with the necessary skills to report health behavior outcomes.

Also speaking on behalf of the participants, the Borno State chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Comrade Dauda Iliya, said that the workshop will contribute significantly to the fight against infectious diseases in Borno State and Nigeria at large.


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