The Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) has revealed it would pay health insurance annual premiums for 50 public health journalists in the newly enacted National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
The coordinator, AHBN, Dr. Aminu Magashi disclosed this in an interview with journalists at the weekend in Abuja, on the sideline of the 6th annual conference of the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists (ANHEJ) themed “Universal Health Coverage (UHC): How Can Nigeria Get it Right? The Role of the Media”, in collaboration with the WHO, AHBN and other partners.
Magashi opined that every journalist deserves health insurance, as part of the bid to achieve universal health coverage.
He said that health is an essential condition for the integral and sustainable development of the people and a necessity for economic growth with equity.
The coordinator said that the failure of many countries to achieve health for all led to a global commitment that aims to strengthen primary health care (PHC) systems as an essential step towards achieving UHC.
According to him, it is well-recognised that the media plays an enormously influential role in public responses to health issues.
“The mass media – print, television, radio and internet – has an unparalleled reach as a communication mechanism. It has substantial power in setting agendas. That is, what we should be concerned about and take action on and framing issues. That is how we should think about them,” he explained.
Magashi said that an awareness of how to work with the media is essential for health communicators.
According to him, this includes understanding journalists’ daily routines, being available, providing resources and building relationships with specialist health reporters.
Speaking at the ANHEJ conference, he said that his organisation has always seen the reason to be part of the conference to encourage the association to continue to do its best.
He urged the association to continue to work in the intersection between journalism and public health, providing media coverage for the health sector in the country.
“Accurate information provided early, often and in languages and channels that people understand, trust and use enable individuals to make choices and take actions to protect themselves, their families and communities from threatening health hazards.
“I believe the conference will provide the association with an opportunity of working collaboration which will bring them closer together, enabling them to tackle similar problems faced in the health sector of the country,” he said.