On Saturday, January 30, 2021, at the #PreventEpidemicsNaija Journalism Award ceremony, Nigeria Health Watch honoured and celebrated four journalists for their outstanding reportage on raising awareness on epidemic preparedness and disease outbreaks in Nigeria.
From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian media proved to be a valuable force in covering issues around the COVID-19 pandemic and in recognition of their exemplary work, in December 2020, the Nigeria Health Watch Prevent Epidemics Project put out a call for nominations of journalists who have produced impactful evidence-based and accurate reports of infectious diseases and epidemic preparedness in Nigeria.
The following journalists were celebrated for their exemplary work:
- The award for the print/digital news category went to Justice Nwafor, a journalist with the National Tribune for his story titled “How years of underfunding health sector affected Nigeria’s response to COVID-19”. Read his 2-part story here – Part 1 Part 2
- The award for the TV report category went to Aneta Felix, a broadcast journalist with TV360 who produced a report on “#COVID19 lockdown: Inside a Lagos emergency food market”. Watch the video here
- The award for the Radio show category went to Chibuike Utaka, a development journalist with BBC Media Action, for edition of ‘Talk Your Own’ show which focused on the readiness of Nigeria’s health system for health emergencies like #COVID19. Listen to a recording of the show here
- The award for the Social Media category went to Victor Azodoh for his blog post on “Preventing future pandemics. Read his post here
Speaking at the award, Dr. Chinwe Ochu, Head of Prevention Programmes and Knowledge Management Department who represented the DG, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said, “The pandemic has shown the key role the media has to play. A single misinformation from the media that goes viral can cause havoc in the society even more than COVID-19.” She urged the media to always fact check every information before putting it out.
Also present at the ceremony were Dr Ngozi Azodoh, Director Health Planning, Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Vivianne Ihekweazu, Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch, Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor, Director Policy and Advocacy and Project Director, Prevent Epidemics Project, Dr Emmanuel Alhassan, Nigeria Coordinator – Prevent Epidemics, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, representatives from LISDEL and BudgIT and others.
Nigeria Health Watch started advocating for more funding for Nigeria’s public health institutes to enable them adequately prepare for epidemics in 2018. The overall goal of this project is to build public awareness and support for epidemic preparedness, and advocate for epidemic preparedness funding increases at Federal and State level.