In an effort to improve the ugly health indices of the country through the provision of adequate and accurate information, the Federal Ministry of Health has taken steps to improve its relationship with the media in the country.
To achieve this, the ministry held a two-day meeting with editors and media managers in Abuja.
The meeting which was supported by a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO)- the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), attracted editors and media managers from major media organisations in the country.
The meeting was both online and virtual.
Responding the questions from journalists, the Director Health Promotion Department of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Ladidi Bako Aiyegbsu, said that the meeting was aimed at ensuring the media sector “understands what we do and we are also looking at strengthening the relationship that we have with the media so that we can work together in a way that the information on healthy lifestyle can be given to the general populace in a format that they understand in order for them to do basic things that will keep them healthy.”
She explained that the meeting was put together after realizing that there was poor health seeking behavior by the general public and the health indices of the country is generally very poor.
“When you look at the number women, children and men that are dying is increasing and there are simple things that we do and if we stop doing them will prevent some of these deaths,” she said.
Speaking on her expectation at the end of the meeting, Mrs Bako said that: “My expectation from these two days engagement is to see that the media and the health sector are working together and speaking with one voice on how people can prevent habits that can lead them to ill-health.
“Looking at a situation where the media will be a friend to the health sector. The media can come to the health sector and ask questions, the media can come to the health sector and clarify issues that they do not understand very well.
“I am looking at a situation where the health sector can call on the media at any time to say that we need you to get this information to the general public and it will be done in a mutual understandable way. “
In a goodwill message, the Coordinator of AHBN, Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, said that his organisation understands the crucial role that the media plays in shaping public opinion and influencing positive behavioural change for good health, hence, was pleased to support their participation in this meeting.
Dr. Magashi who was represented by Dr Obinna Onuoha, said that AHBN’s expectation was that “this parley will open up new frontiers for a stronger, cordial and well-defined relationship of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigerian media in delivering prompt and accurate reporting on health issues as they unfold.”