By Abiemwense Moru
The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) on Friday charged media practitioners to continuously disseminate health promotion messages to reduce the spread of communicable diseases in the country.
The ministry made the call during a one-day training workshop for news Editors in Abuja.
Dr Salma Anas-Kolo, Director, Department of Family Health in the ministry, while giving her opening remarks, said the training was aimed at bringing the media together to brainstorm and strengthen existing relationships using media ideals to help people imbibe healthy behaviour.
Anas-Kolo, who was represented by Mrs Ladidi Bako-Aiyegbusi, Director/Head, Health Promotion Division in the Department of Family Health, said it was necessary to get health priorities right through the media as the health sector could not do it alone.
She added that there was the need for media commitment to make health promotion a major agenda, hence the need for the news editors to prioritise health advocacy.
Anas-Kolo, therefore, urged all news editors to encourage and support reporters in giving health promotion priorities during their reportage.
In her presentation, Mrs Ladidi Bako-Aiyegbusi, Director/Head, Health Promotion Division, family health department, who spoke on the need to reposition health promotion in Nigeria, said that preventive measures, health literacy and availability of information were important.
According to her, the objectives of repositioning health promotion in Nigeria are to increase awareness and knowledge on government’s efforts at repositioning health promotion programming.
Another objective, she said, was to reach consensus on media platforms that could be harnessed for information exchange between government and public.
“Another objective is to enhance the commitment of the media as stakeholders in communicating to Nigerians on the need to take responsibility for protecting themselves and others,’’ she said.
She explained that in addressing people’s poor attitude to their health, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was programmed to reach everyone, everywhere across the life course with appropriate health interventions to promote health and wellbeing of all.
According to her, health promotion is enabling people to increase control over, and improve, their health.
“It involves a set of actions to inform people of what they could do to stay healthy.
“Health promotion addresses the things in the community that influence health and wellbeing so that these can be supported.
“Health promotion is also geared towards promoting healthy status and preventing ill-health,’’ she said.
Mr Hameed Adediran, Technical Adviser, Health System Strengthening Options Consultancy Services of LAFIYA Programme, in a remark, called on the media to play a critical role in the society through dissemination of information widely within a short time.
Adediran, who said that the media was a trusted source of information by the people, urged the editors to seek out information on health issues from the Health Promotion Division.
He noted that the media was responsible for holding people in power to accountability, adding that they also clarify rumours or misinformation, while fashioning the right agenda for the policy makers.
“It is the same media that document and disseminate success stories,” he said, and called on media as health promoters to allocate more time for the airing of health promotion messages, articles, features, editorial and news stories,” he said.
He also urged the media to promote the positive image and benefits of appropriate health seeking behaviours to individuals, families and communities in Nigeria.
Mrs Moji Makanjuola, a former staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), advised media practitioners to build a Nigeria without disease through adequate and appropriate reportage.
She also urged the media to promote social responsibilities by taking issues from people’s perspectives as it related to implementation of Basic Health Promotion Funds.
“The media should ask questions that will promote development and raise the political profile of health in human capital development,’’ she said. (NAN)