MamaYe’s media engagement in Bonthe and Koinadugu districts has given me a high sense of hope that journalists in these districts will continue to champion the MamaYe campaign beyond the project activities after December 2015.
The close-out sessions brought together 20 editors and health reporters in Bonthe and Koinadugu. In the end participants signed a MoU with MamaYe as a commitment to continue reporting on maternal and newborn health for the survival of mothers and babies.
I am surprised to know that Evidence for Action programme is scaling down in December this year, but let me assure you that Radio Bintumani will fill the gap
Steven Bockarie Mansaray, Station Manager, Radio Bintumani disclosed in Kabala, Koinadugu district.
The Station Manager of Radio Bontico, Samba Koroma, and Sarah Rogers, Station Manager of Radio Voice of Women in Matru Jong, made it known to participants that their respective media houses would have programmes focusing on MamaYe key asks: safe clinics and more funds for mothers and babies.
They assured participants that they would encourage their reporters to investigate stories related to women and children and give them prominence during their newscast.
These programmes will be platforms to raise awareness for pregnant women to have confidence in the health service delivery, go for antenatal care, and to discourage home deliveries.
During the discussion sessions, journalists said they would use the radio to hold stakeholders accountable if they fail to support the needs of health workers and quality of care for mothers and babies.
What made the media close-out interesting was when journalists brought out realistic action plans of what they intend to do after December. Key highlights of their action plans include:
- They will continue to report FIT results, monitor health facilities in their community and express public concerns if the seven enablers of safe clinics are not met
- Champion stakeholders’ engagement meetings to ask for safe clinics and funds for health
- Ensure that health facilities are not misused by both health workers and patients. Health workers should use facility equipment responsibly because they are given to them freely. Patients should not destroy health facility equipment like hand pumps, toilet facilities and beds
- Monitor the post Ebola Recovery Plan activities in their districts to make sure more priority is given to pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children under five
- Attend District Forum Health Committee Meetings to keep abreast with the health situation in the districts
- Develop a radio progamme in local languages to discourage home delivery
- Use the media to encourage people to donate blood
- Send stories to MamaYe for publication on the website
MamaYe Evidence Advisor, Bockarie Sesay, made presentations on the two districts’ Maternal and Newborn Health Dashboards and the June 2015 FIT assessment. The Maternal and Newborn Health Dashboards use data from government sources to monitor key indicators for maternal and newborn health at the district level. These include hospital, PHU and community deliveries; maternal deaths; newborn deaths; and the utilisation of antenatal and postnatal care.
Thomas Dixon, Editor of Salone Times Newspaper, and Sallieu Tejan Jalloh, Publisher of the Times SL Newspaper, facilitated the discussion sessions.
The high point of the meeting was the signing of the MOU by journalists in both districts with MamaYe.