Journalists Receive Training On Urban Health Reporting

Journalists have been advised to make thorough background research into health-related cases in order to produce well-informed reportage; since health-related issues are very sensitive and complex.

The Executive Director for Women, Media, and Change (WOMEC), Dr. Charity Binka gave this salient advice at a two-day media engagement workshop organized by the University of Ghana Community-Led Responsive and Effective Urban Health Systems (CHORUS), at Dodowa near Accra.

Dr. Charity Binka hinted that inaccuracy in recent media reportage, especially in the area of community health, is the result of unwarranted sensationalism.

She was of the view that if journalists would package their stories well with relevant and accurate information, they will meet the requirement of their targeted audience.

“Avoid spicing stories to make them sell, at the expense of educating the public”, she emphasized.

Dr. Charity Binka said journalists in Ghana have over the years shown little interest in reporting on health-related issues, especially in the area of community health, and blamed it on media practitioners, health workers, and experts from whom sources of information could be gathered.

She admonished journalists to avoid misleading the public with unverified information, data, or figures, adding that complicated data and figures in news reports point to vivid pictures and could tarnish the image of the people involved.

Adding that, they should simplify figures and data when informing the public to promote better and easy reports.

Touching on Ghana’s declaration on both Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Urban Health Coverage (UHC) respectively and policies associated with them, the WOMEC Executive Director gave Ghana’s definition of UHC as; “All” people in Ghana have timely access to high-quality health services, irrespective of one’s ability to pay at the point of use.

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She gave some statistics on Social determinants of health in Ghana and their explanations as follows; Genes and Biology – 10%, indicating that one’s illness is determined by his or her bloodline (family).

Physical Environment. – 10%, that is one suffering from a particular illness as a result of disease outbreak or pollution in the environment the individual lives.

Clinical Care – 10%, reffing to unavailability of health facilities or availability with little care.
Health Behaviours. – 30% that is patient Doctor confidentiality losing its priority.

Social & Economic Factors. – 40%, as a result of most people’s inability to afford healthcare delivery due to poverty.

With this, she called on the government, the media, and other stakeholders to help the urban healthcare system and primary health delivery by ensuring that the necessary facilities and equipment provided meet the standard set and also formulated policies regarding health-related cases in Ghana are implemented to mitigate challenges facing the health sector.

The two-day workshop was to introduce CHORUS’s activities on the global, Sub-regional, and country levels to journalists to generate their interest and increase their commitment to cover issues on urban health systems and policies, effectively for policy-making and its implementation.

CHORUS Officials in a group pix with participants

By Margaret Esaah Boakye/

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