The Ministry of Health (MoH) in partnership with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) has conducted a-one-day training for journalists to improve their quality of health reporting.
At the official opening of the training, the Director of Communications of NPHIL, Joseph S. Wiah told participants that the training was intended to improve journalists’ health reportage as well as appropriate ways of reporting that will support the current awareness being created by NPHIL and the MoH regarding the COVID-19.
The one-day event was well attended by senior editors and reporters from different media institutions in Monrovia. The workshop according to Mr. Wiah, is part of the measures put in place by NPHIL against the virus which he said will also help to build support for emergency response.
He acknowledged the role of the media as saying it is critical in the fight against the COVID-19, adding “we met with media editors and discussed wherein the need for information sharing was heightened.”
He further told participants that it was important to note that information coming from the relevant health authorities regarding the COVID-19 should be taken seriously by reporters rather than rumors. He added that while it is true to follow rumors because there could be some level of truth in it, it is also good to do facts checking before reporting as media personnel.
NPHIL Acting Director-General Dr. Mosoka Fallah: “We must admit that you are an asset to us at NPHIL because since we started this preparedness for COVID-19, the media has been so vital, considering the lesson learned from the Ebola in 2014,” he said.
Dr. Fallah who spoke briefly during the training stressed the importance of developing a partnership with the media so that the public can get the necessary information they need. He was optimistic that the training will give a clearer picture of how to report on health-related issues especially on COVID-19.
The Deputy Minister Of Health and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis N. Kateh, used the occasion to thank the government of Liberia for its support that made the Ministry Star-based prepared to accommodate people who are under observation upon their arrival.
He cautioned journalists to be mindful in dealing with the public because transparency and trust are critical. “This is what we continue to build our relationship with the media,” Minister Kateh said. Meanwhile, Dr. Kateh has refuted social media reports regarding an outbreak of Corona Virus (COVID-19) in Liberia and urged the public to do away with rumors.
In another development, MoH in partnership with NPHIL has taken a one day tour with journalists at the new Precautionary Observation Center (POC) at Star Base, Bushrod Island. The tour was intended to authenticate claims made by travelers from China especially Liberians, about the condition of the facilities in which foreign national including Liberians are being placed under POC for 14 days upon arrival in the country.
Prior to the tour, there have been reports from travelers mainly Liberians, that the facility was not conducive for them, it was based on these reports the Ministry thought it was important to take journalists at Star Based.
However, during the tour with the Ministry, the Daily Observer noted that there has been some level of improvement at the facilities, while it is a truth that the population increases daily, at least three persons are entitled to a bathroom.
NPHIL Deputy Incident Manager, Amos Gbone clarified that there are more than 18 showers at the facilities, of which hygienists are being assigned to each bathroom for constant chlorination. ” These bathrooms are very clean as you can see here,” he said. Mr. Gbone also said that these travelers are taken care of by the government, adding that they eat three times a day.