Women, Media and Change, WOMEC is calling on researchers to involve journalists, especially health reporters from the beginning of their research till the end; thus providing the reporter with thorough understanding of the entire project.
According to Eunice Menka, an officer at WOMEC, this, when considered, will enable journalists report effectively on fall out from the project.
She made the admonishing at a two-day training workshop held at Dodowa Forest Hotel on Thursday and Friday to highlight and empower journalists to efficiently report about urban health and it multi-dimensional concerns.
The conference brought together selected reporters across the country and exposed them to public health issues that affect the health and wellbeing of the urban population, mainly the vulnerable groups.
As there are increase concerns of non-communicable diseases among urban settlers, journalist bears the responsibility to disseminate accurate information to the public, to impact their life decisions.
Notwithstanding, duty bearers and policy makers at various levels are expected to be hold accountable for the health outcomes of citizens, a role Dr. Binka called on the media to play without fear or favour.
While the World Health Organization projected moving from rural communities to urban centers to increase from 55 per cent to 68 per cent by 2050, nations including Ghana, Nepal, Bangladesh and Nigeria are working towards reducing environmental pollution and related sanitation challenges, limited access to basic health care and primary necessities like water, food and clean air and also strengthening the Community Health and Planning Services (CHPS) in the urban communities through the Community –led Responsive and Effective Urban Health System (CHORUS) project being championed by the University of Ghana’s Public Health School.
Having started in 2020 with expectation to end in May 2026, the CHORUS project is ongoing in four communities within two municipalities in the Greater Accra Region; Ashaiman and La-Nkwantana Madina.
The Executive Director of WOMEC, Dr. Binka Charity, who highlighted the need to expose journalists to public health challenges, encouraged the media to be self-motivated to advocate for the wellbeing of citizens at all times without accessibility barriers, following the adverse concerns of urban health.
On her part, Dr. Genevieve Ayeetey, country lead for CHORUS and lecturer at the Public Health School of the University of Ghana has assured that the project team will effectively partner with journalists for the rest of the project implementation period.
On the back of a request to join the project team to field visits, Dr. Genevieve said their doors are always opened, and thus plans would be made with regards.
Some reporters who lamented about the use of technical jargons in some of the health research reports, have called on medical experts to simplify their choice of words to make journalists get the understanding to report accurately.
The conference through various group engagements and presentations, resolved that CHORUS and the health fraternity should partner effectively, build trust and long lasting relationship with the media to disseminate quality health information to the public.
Trust FM in an interview with Selase Odopey, a Progrmmes Manager and Researcher with CHORUS Ghana after the capacity building workshop on Friday, appealed to citizens to make good use of the CHPS centers in their various communities for their basic health needs.
She added saying that, when citizens abide by this, the pressure on district and referral hospitals would be reduced.
Mrs. Selase Odepey bemoaning the rate at which the public prefers resorting to drug stores and pharmacies, cautioned that Ghanaians should make health centers and hospitals their first point of call when unwell.
About CHORUS Project
With funding from the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the CHORUS Research Programme Consortium (RPC) seeks to conduct research to understand, explore and evaluate interventions to build flexibility and respond to the health challenges of increasingly rapid and uncontrolled urbanization across Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).
Urban health systems in LMICs have to respond to the double burden of communicable diseases (CDs) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the dominance of the non-government sector and the need to act across sectors on the wider determinants of health.
They also often have to grapple with wide social and economic inequities and questions around how to effectively deal with exclusion, four marginalization and related health and well-being challenges of those facing exclusion for various reasons such as ethnicity /caste, religion, disability and gender.
To build resilience and respond to these challenges and their impacts on health and wellbeing, the urban health system must be conceptualized to include sectors beyond health that impact health and enable linkages between multiple governments, NGOs and private providers whilst ensuring responsiveness and accountability to urban residents, particularly the poor.
Source: www.trustfmonline.com/Omanba Kodwo Boafo