PUL, WHO Launch Health Reporters’ Network Program in Liberia

By: Sylvester Choloplay

Liberia: In an effort to improve coverage on Liberia’s health system and report factual information on outbreak diseases and sicknesses, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched the Health Reporters Network of Liberia program for Journalists.

The objective of the program is to ensure reporters are trained and specialized in the area of health to raise awareness on various diseases such as Lassa fever, Monkeypox, and COVID-19, amongst others.

Speaking at the launch in Monrovia on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, WHO Country Representative – Dr. Peter Clement Lasuba emphasized the importance of reporting factual information that the public can use for safety, prevention, and protection.

Dr. Clement disclosed that it is the first time for the WHO to collaborate with the Press Union of Liberia to build such a partnership that is meant to avoid having journalists reporting misinformation or wrong data collection on health.

He said the network will help reporters to work and inquire from health experts, and at the same time, get the right information in order to do away with misinformation or wrong interpretation of messages from health practitioners.

The WHO Liberia’s Country Representative admonished reporters to promote messages that help people make the right decisions on their health and take action for protection.

He mentioned that a healthy nation leads to a wealthy nation with a strong economy for all and the partnership with PUL will help increase the country’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks before they become global events with epidemic potential.

“We need to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to do that, we need to improve the health sector so that we create wealth and prosperity as well,” Dr. Peter Clement Lasuba asserted.

Meanwhile, Press Union of Liberia Vice President, Daniel Nyakonah, disclosed that one of the objectives of the network is to reduce the level of politics in news content in Liberia.

Mr. Nyakonah stated that health activities in the country are for the past years underreported and there is a need that journalists be trained in health reporting.

He revealed that about 30 Liberian Journalists have expressed interest to be part of the network and the PUL and the WHO are expecting about 75 Journalists to be part of the network to do health reporting in the country.

Speaking further at the one-day symposium with journalists and WHO officials, the PUL Vice President mentioned that there will be periodic training and symposiums across the country for reporters in health reporting.

Life expectancy in Liberia is much lower than the world average. Communicable diseases are widespread, including tuberculosis, diarrhea, malaria, and HIV, among others.

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