By Christine Ochogo*
Journalists have been urged to give constant messages on measures being used by health authorities and government in fighting COVID-19 in a bid to prevent further infections.
Speaking during a joint cross border science café on the basics of reporting and understanding covid-19, Sylvia Nakasi, a health advocate from Uganda Network of Aids Services Organization (UNASO) noted that partnership between journalists, scientists and health experts is necessary to ensure members of the public consume correct information about Covid-19 in a simple language that they can easily understand.
She emphasised that journalists need not tire from constant research about the virus. She added that journalists must maintain their reputable sources of information in regards to COVID-19 as this helps journalists maintain accuracy in their reporting.
“Journalists need to slay their curiosity about the resource by using scientific facts to stay away from speculation and making use of data narrative to offset social media misinformation,” she added.
The advocate at the same time advised journalists to amplify the issues and impact of COVID-19 in communities and do follow up on how resources meant to fight the pandemic are used and accounted for.
Other important basics she mentioned are to understand the process of developing vaccines so as to avert myths and misconceptions that arise and also to ensure efficacy of vaccines.
The café, held on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 brought on board journalists, experts and advocates drowned from Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The organizations which came together for to jointly hold the media café were Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM) which led its planning and coordination, Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA) from Kenya, Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre from Zimbabwe and Health Journalists Network in Uganda (HEJNU) from Uganda.
* Christine Ochogo is a freelance journalist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org