World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health
and Social Welfare organized a two-day capacity building workshop for health
journalists on health reporting. This was held at a local hotel in Bijilo.
Participants were exposed to various topics on health; of the situation of TB in the country, updates on mental health and substances abuse, as well as updates on major communicable diseases and their risk factors in The Gambia.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Aisha Davids-Ann, Director of Department of Information Services, described the training as timely as it aims to build the capacity of journalists on health reporting.
She stated that WHO has long been supportive in building the capacity of health journalists through training and information sharing on paternal health issues.
According to her, health and communication experts need to work closely to help the general public to understand information generated on health related issues.
She assured of her ministry readiness to support WHO and the ministry of health and social to promote initiatives that enhance communication given the fact that health and communication are interdependent.
For his part, Dr. Desta Tiruneh, WHO country representative, said his organization values the work of health journalists as critical to the attainment of the organisation’s goal and objectives.
He added that making people healthier calls for a well-informed society, hence communication is therefore a central pillar of the work of the WHO in improving global health.
He stressed that his organization would continue to build capacity of journalists for better health communication or reporting.
He urged the participants to make sure they understand the subject matter before going to interview an expert on health.
Cherno Barry, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare,
thanked WHO for its immeasurable guidance and support to his ministry in
achieving the milestone.
He stated that the association was formed in 2001 through the support of WHO that provided a consultant to train the first cohorts of journalists in health reporting in The Gambia.
He added that sixteen years down the line, the association has become an active partner for health communication in The Gambia.
The program was chaired by Momodou Gassama, the WHO Focal Person for Non-Communicable diseases.