NCDC develops tool on epidemiology, disease reporting

By Abiemwense Moru

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in collaboration with Breakthrough ACTION – Nigeria, has developed tools to support training of media personnel on epidemiology and reporting diseases.

Dr Chinwe Ochu, the Director, Prevention Programmes and Knowledge Management, Head of Research, NCDC, spoke on Tuesday in Lagos, on the sideline of Media Preparedness Against Future and Current Outbreak Response Programme Brainstorming session.
Ochu explained that with the training, journalists and editors would be able to investigate information and know how to report scientifically diseases of public health importance.
“We are working together and going through questionnaires, addressing questions and  getting the  inputs of the media.
“This will enable us to know if the training we are planning to offer truly address the priority of the media,” she said.
On her part, Dr Olayinka Umar-Farouk, Deputy Project Director, Risk Communication, Breakthrough ACTION – Nigeria, said journalists had always been part of the response of outbreaks.
She maintained that journalists needed to be recognised as first respondents.
“So, USAID Breakthrough ACTION – Nigeria, African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) and NCDC have come up with a training programme to see how to integrate journalists into a public health response.
“That is what the workshop is all about; to be better prepared and contribute our international health regulations mandatory capacity for different stakeholders within the population,” she said.
Also, Dr Aishat Usman, Field Coordinator, Nigerian Field and Laboratory Training Programme (AFENET), said it had worked with Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Environment, to strengthen public health network force in Africa.
According to her, to have a safe public health space, collaboration  is needed and one of the ways to  disseminate health information is through the media.
“Coming up with this idea with NCDC to actively build the capacity of journalists and editors of health reporting is a good one.
“This is because we need that collaboration to pass across correct and accurate information to the public,” she said. (NAN)
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