Conclusion of First Phase of AIBD Health Journalism Training Initiative
AIBD 1-month Online Workshop/ Mentoring Sessions for Health Journalists and Content Creators concludes with the closing ceremony on 24th March 2021 at 4pm MYT. The online workshop had 2 batches of journalists and content creators from 13 countries participating in the activity. These workshops were held as part of training and part focus group for the AIBD Health Communication Manual that will be released later in 2021.
The closing ceremony began with welcome remarks from Ms Philomena Gnanapragasam, Director of AIBD. ‘Media is the biggest opinion leader’ she said while highlighting the importance of health journalism to curb the infodemic happening especially in regard to vaccination. She thanked the AIBD Health Communication Taskforce Members, an advisory board formed by AIBD to oversee the health communication manual and related activities.
Mr Djordje Novakovic, Strategic and Risk Communication Expert from WHO was the Guest of Honor for the event. Mr Novakovic delivered a heartfelt speech on health risks, stating that WHO considers stigma and discrimination as a big public health threat and public health risk. He further underlined the pivotal role of media played to ensure delivery of accurate and lifesaving information.
The 1-hour closing ceremony was held via Zoom platform, with participants of both the workshops; AIBD 1-month Online Workshop/ Mentoring Sessions for Health Journalists and Content Creators for ASEAN region, held from 11 January – 11 February 2021 and AIBD 1-month Online Workshop/ Mentoring Sessions for Health Journalists and Content Creators for SAARC and African region, held from 22 February to 22 March 2021, joining the session. Present also were the members of the AIBD Health Communication Taskforce.
The consultant, Mr K.P Madhu, Science Writing Consultant for Current Science magazine and a communication expert with decades of experience in media, gave an overview of the activities conducted thus far. He noted the different levels of experience and varying degrees of understanding in the subject between the regions and the participants. He further stated that information gleaned from the interaction with the participants was very valuable and helps him revise the modules to suit the tone that was needed by the broadcasters.
Three members from the AIBD Health Communication Taskforce delivered congratulatory remarks during the closing ceremony, stressing the importance of health communication and role of media. A recording of Dr Anne Felicia Ambrose, Director of Research of Montefiore Health System, USA was played during the closing, while Mr Mohammad Abu Sadique, Deputy Director, National Institute of Mass Communication, Bangladesh and Ms Ugonma Cokey, Deputy Director Training, Voice of Nigeria, Nigeria gave remark on behalf of the Taskforce members as well.
In addition to the manual, several other supporting resources were mooted during the workshops to increase education and capabilities of the media industry with the AIBD member organisation. This training activity will lead to further events with middle management and top management which will culminate to the endorsement and publication of the AIBD Health Communication Manual, as well as the launching of the ‘One-Station One-Health Journalist’ Initiative
The event was closed by AIBD Director Ms Gnanapragasam, who reiterated her previous message and invited workshop participants as well as task force members to play a bigger role in the AIBD Health Initiative, as movers and shakers of the communication industry.