Following the increasing cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ), has pledged to support the efforts of the federal government and other international partners in sensitizing the public and providing needed information to Nigerians.
ANHEJ made the pledge in a communique at the end of its two-days meeting on the ‘assessment of COVID-19 reportage in Nigeria’, which was held Nasarawa state, recently.
The communique was signed by the ANHEJ President and Secretary General, Malam Hassan Zaggi and Gloria Essien, respectively.
According to ANHEJ, even though the journalists were confronted with many challenges during the peak of the COVID-19 in Nigeria, it, however, concluded that the media did its very best in providing the needed information to the populace during the pandemic.
It, however, called on the government to be deliberate in improving funding for the health sector for its to perform optimally.
“ANHEJ believes that the media did its best in reporting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It also believes that for the health sector to be strong enough to meet the health needs of all Nigerians at any critical moment, the government must be deliberate in funding the health sector.
“ANHEJ therefore called on the government to, following the coming of the second wave of the COVID-19, build on the experiences gain in handling the first wave and ensure that the lives of Nigerians are protected.
“The Association also expressed its commitment to support the government, international partners and other stakeholders in the health sector to ensure that Nigerians get the information they need as regards the COVID-19 and other emerging diseases in the country.
“ANHEJ looks forward to WHO’s pledge for a review of the impact of the Conference by the first quarter of 2021,” the communique said.
ANHEJ therefore, charged journalists in the country go beyond reporting Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Press Conferences and do more of investigations to ascertain the claims of government or the private sector, as well as give light to the challenges that the pandemic has brought on the livelihoods of other citizens.
“Members of ANHEJ must not ignore other health issues while concentrating on the COVID-19 pandemic but also continue to report other health needs of Nigerians so that Nigeria does not lose the gains made in other areas of health while tackling the COVID-19 pandemic,” the group noted.