In the bid to promote public health and proper health reporting, the Plateau State Ministry of Health in conjunction with The Challenge Initiative and Development Communications Network has organized a 3-day intensive Media Advocacy Training on Family Planning for Government MDAs Media Officers, Journalists, Bloggers and Social Media Influencers in the State.
The training which held at Crispan Luxury Apartment Hotels Rayfield Jos, Plateau State drew participants from the various MDAs, Print, Electronic and Social Media for insightful and robust engagements on how best to effectively report public health issues with emphasis on Family Planning/Childbirth Spacing.
Media Practitioners were described as key drivers in health service delivery on account of the critical roles they play in disseminating information.
Participants were charged to use their influence to educate and inform the public on the need for family planning as well as use the social media strategically in dispelling the myths and misconceptions about family planning with facts.
Participants were also taught the importance of building public trust and gaining good reputation as Media Practitioners.
Reputation was described as a Reporter’s license, while the public trust the certification. They were also told to avoid falsification of data, conflict of interest, incomplete reporting and plagiarism. Media Practitioners were advised to avoid sensationalism, act honesty and ethically all the time.
They were reminded of their responsibilities to provide truthful, balanced, factual and objective information for public consumption.
The power of the Journalists to influence what the society believes was also reechoed.
Participants were taken on wide range of topics such as Understanding Terminologies in Maternal Health, Family Planning and Adolescent Reproductive Health; the trend, practices, attitudes and barriers Related with Family Planing; Media Approach to confronting Myths and Misconceptions about Family Planing; Cultural and Religious Contexts of Family Planning; Family Planning as a Tool for Sustainable Development; Comprehending the Challenge Initiative Business Unusual Model to Family Planning; Using Social Media as a Strategic approach to promoting Family Planning.
Other topics were writing compelling human angle stories on Family Planning; Life Planning for Adolescents and Youth/Adolescent Reproductive Health; Ethical Issues in Health Reporting; Media Involvement in Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality in Nigeria; Policy Environment for Family Planning in Nigeria; Principles and Practices of Development Communication.
There were group discussions and presentations all through the training.
A representative of the Executive Secretary Plateau State Primary Health Care Board and State Family Planning Coordinator, Mrs. Rahila commended the organizers for the initiative and Facilitators for the training. She harped on the need to partner strategically with Media Practitioner to achieve certain health goals being voice to the society. She urged them to always use facts to dispel all rumours and misconceptions about Family Planning.
The participants had a field trip to the family planning units in some Health Facilities in the State. There was also Pre-training and post training evaluation to assess participants’ comprehension and appreciation of the topics treated.
Participants appreciated the organizers for impacting great knowledge on them and promised to step down same as well as continue to encourage and promote family planning in the society in order to achieve the desired goals of the training. They said they will ensure they inculcate what they learnt and carry out sustained engagements and advocacy in the future.
The Facilitators which include Mr. Akin Jimoh, Dr. Philemon Mamza Yohanna and Mrs Winifred Zachariah were persons with vast knowledge of public health and health journalism.
Certificates of Participation were issued to participants after the training.
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