MamaYe-E4A is working in Gombe State to improve the health of pregnant women and newborns. It also seeks to work with relevant stakeholders on MNH issues. So far and with its commitment, particularly with the recently concluded workshop for journalists, there is every reason to believe that the issues under consideration are being given the desired attention.
It is on this note that a training on investigative and evidence-based journalism for reporters was organised to build the capacity of journalists in bringing about desired change in maternal and newborn health.
Participants were taken through a refresher on news and feature writing, and an intensive training in interview techniques, basics of communication and investigative journalism and use of technology and social media for investigative reporting.The workshop had in attendance 10 reporters from the following media houses:
- Voice of Nigeria
- Leadership Newspaper
- Gombe Media Corporation
- Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria
- Guardian Newspaper
- Dandal Kura Radio International
- Progress FM
- The Sun Newspaper
- National Mirror Newspaper
At the end of the five-day workshop and brainstorming sessions facilitated by Messrs. Olaide Shokunbi and Morooph Babaranti, participants at the workshop observed that:
- MNH issues are grossly under-reported in Gombe State and it is important to do more by becoming agents of change for MNH.
- The poor state of health facilities in Gombe State is inimical to maternal and newborn health and that there is an urgent need for government to address the issue.
- Capacity of journalists in reporting issues around MNH in the state is low
- Poor remuneration, irregular and outright non-payment of journalists’ salaries are negatively affecting their performance
- Journalists in Gombe State need investigative reporting skills to follow up on MNH issues
- Launching investigations into MNH issues is capital intensive.
While the journalists were advised to utilise knowledge and experience gained at the training to improve reporting of MNH issues, they were also encouraged to utilise available support opportunities for journalists and to exploit emerging technology to enhance their reports.
Recognising the power of the media as opinion shapers, collaboration to improve the coverage of issues onMNH with commitment and zest can contribute hugely to reducing the high rate of maternal and newborn deaths in Gombe State