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Nigeria Health Watch announces journalism awards 

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
30 November 2021   |   3:58 am
The Nigeria Health Watch has instituted awards aimed at celebrating evidence-based and accurate reporting of epidemic preparedness.

The Nigeria Health Watch has instituted awards aimed at celebrating evidence-based and accurate reporting of epidemic preparedness.

The second edition of the #PreventEpidemicsNaija, awards welcome nominations till Sunday, January 2, 2022, and winners will be announced at an award ceremony on January 28, 2022.

It stated that the #PreventEpidemicsNaija Journalism Awards would honour journalists who have reported on all dimensions of epidemic preparedness in Nigeria in digital/print, audio and video formats.

“Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the need for accurate information and journalists were challenged in their work, keeping pace with the rapid transition of the pandemic while at the same time providing timely and quality editorial.

“The flow of misinformation amid the global pandemic placed journalists in a vital role, requiring additional efforts to communicate clear and evidence-based editorial at the height of the global health crisis,” it said.

The body added that it is important that the vital role of the media is recognised and the #PreventEpidemicsNaija Journalism awards aim to further elevate their role as the fourth estate, as they frame the issues of the day, providing a critical channel that defends the public interest, ensuring the public has to access to information.”

The Managing Director, Vivianne Ihekweazu said: “Stories that report on epidemic preparedness and response in Nigeria are extremely crucial in ensuring that Nigerians are well informed on the current state of epidemics in the country.

“Winning entries feature great storytelling that educates its audience, keeping them informed and empowering them to advocate for more sustained funding and support that would ensure that epidemic preparedness and our health security is a national priority.”

The Programme Manager, Prevent Epidemics project, Beti Baiye, said: “Media engagement is a core part of the prevent epidemics project. Since inception, our partnerships with journalists have helped drive our advocacy and we are delighted for this opportunity to recognise their good work and celebrate them.”

On what the judges will be looking out for, Baiye said: “The judges will recognise work that highlights and scrutinises the critical aspects of any outbreak response: epidemic preparedness, surveillance and detection and critically sustained and stable funding. There is a need to improve policymaker awareness on infectious diseases and define the role of citizens in demanding increased funding for epidemic preparedness in Nigeria.”

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