Group seeks reactivation of bi-monthly media engagements on health

The Coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network, Dr. Aminu Magashi has advocated for the reactivation of the culture of holding bi-monthly media engagements to inform Nigerians of developments in the health sector.

He made the call in Abuja when the newly elected executive members of the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists paid him a courtesy visit.

Magashi said the bi-monthly media engagements enhance feedback with the populace and engender accountability.

The bi-monthly briefing was introduced by the Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with AHBN, to provide a platform for updates on developments around efforts made to contain COVID-19, Lassa Fever, routine immunisation coverage, and reproductive health initiatives, among others.

Magashi stressed the need to sustain the gains of the bimonthly media interactions where the ministers, permanent secretaries, heads of departments, and agencies in the health sector, including private sector players communicate with the masses through the media.

He, therefore, appealed to the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Ali Pate, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Tunji Alausa, and the Permanent Secretary, Daju Kachollom, among others to see to its reactivation.

“In the last two years, we have been supporting the bi-monthly press briefing at the Ministry of Health, and we found that meeting productive and engaging in the sense that the Minister of Health and all the heads of MDAs with the Chief Executive Officers in the health sector will sit down in every two weeks or every month to provide updates of what is going on in the health sector in Nigeria about COVID-19, health security, family planning, and so many in the country.

“Engaging the media on a quarterly basis has become productive and, at the same time, very useful to Nigerians whereby we know what is going on in every aspect of our healthcare system. That has become a transparent and accountable process where ministers provide updates and the CEOs of the health sector.”

“I think it’s important to revive that press briefing with the coordinating minister of health, the minister of state, and SA to the president on health to provide updates.”

“When the political players talk to the media, in the bi-monthly meeting, indirectly, they are talking to Nigerians because it is through the media that ordinary Nigerians would get updated. I call on the new Minister of Health, Dr Muhammad Ali Pate, and all the team to activate that regular press conference.”

Also, the Engagement and Partnership Lead of AHBN, Oyeyemi Pitan said, “The role of media in this is key and we trust you are with us to ensure our advocacy messages get to the right quarters.”

Earlier, the President of ANHeJ, Joseph Kadiri, thanked AHBN for its steadfast support through the years.

He also pledged the new leadership’s readiness to work closely with AHBN to provide visibility for the work they do over the years, and appealed that AHBN extend its usual support to the new executive members.


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