The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) on Wednesday in Abuja opened a two-day sensitisation for editors and general managers on the country’s maiden Media Engagement Strategy for Health Promotion (MES4HP) 2021-2025.
The Director, Family Health Department of the ministry, Dr Salma Anas-Kolo, while declaring the event open, said “Health Promotion (HP) is the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health.”
She said the National Health Act (NHA2014), the National Health Policy (NHP 2016) and the Second National Strategic Health Development Plan II (NSHDP II 2018-2022) are in concurrence that health promotion can reduce the country’s disease burden.
Represented by Mrs Ladidi Bako-Aiyegbusi, the Director, Health Promotion Department, Anas-Kolo commended members of the National Health Promotion Forum and representatives of federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for their inputs to the development of the MES4HP.
She added that the sensitisation was to orient media gatekeepers about the strategy and enable them to preview ways to translate it into action in the best interest of Nigerians.
Anas-Kolo said media engagement was pivotal for public awareness, education and promotion of
positive health behaviours, adding that it was a veritable tool toward empowering individuals, families and communities to take informed decisions on health issues.
Bako-Aiyegbusi, who spoke on “The Story Behind the Media Engagement Strategy for Health Promotion in Nigeria — 2021-2025”, said the journey toward health information, promotion and dissemination started in March 2020.
She explained that “currently, FMoH engages with the media through the public relations and media unit of the office of the minister.
“Specifications of the mode of engagement between the FMoH and the media happen on a case by case basis, as there is no blueprint to define the process.
“Additionally, the emergence of social media misinformation and fake news on public health issues further justify the need to clearly define the modus operandi of the health and media sector engagement.”
In his presentations on “Health Promotion and Nigeria’s Media Landscape”, and “Guiding Philosophy, Aim and Specific Objectives”, the Resource Person, Mr william anyebe, said “the penetration of the media is unequal when it comes to information dissemination.”
He said that the guiding philosophy behind the engagement was to define how the FMoH harnessed media’s potential to contribute to attaining the country’s vision of Universal Health Coverage.
william, former External Technical Adviser to Support National Malaria Programme (SuNMaP(DfID), USAID-funded Malaria Action Programme for States (MAPS), listed credibility, complementarity and coordination as major guiding philosophy underpinning the media engagement.
Others, he said, were harmonisation, empowerment, as well as inclusiveness and universality.
The resource person, who also spoke on “Overview of Strategic Components 1 to 6 and Preview of Ways to translate the Strategies into Action”, emphasised that the media engagement would serve as template for adaptation at state and local government levels, reflecting their own
He said “the major aim of the strategic media engagement is to empower Nigerians to make informed choices for healthier living.”
The sensitisation drew participants from the social media, traditional media, including radio and television, the print, online media and NGOs.