"Health Journalism Award Launched and Media Institutions Honoured"
BANJUL, 12 April 2018: The WHO Country Office (WCO), launched the Health Journalism Award as part of a series of activities marking the 70th Anniversary of the World Health Organization. Five journalists received Awards, which comprises communication gadgets and certificates, for demonstrating their skills, knowledge and talents in writing articles on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the Gambia. The health journalism award is a collaborative effort of CAM/AFRO and WCO-Gambia which was initiated December 2017 and took the form of an essay competition on UHC.
In addition, to the health journalism award, WCO also presented certificates of appreciation to 27 outstanding media institutions, which include public media, community radios, private radio stations and newspapers across the country to honour their contributions to public enlightenment on health matters. This activity is part of WHO Country Office’s efforts to raise public awareness on the work of the World Health Organization and its contribution to health development in The Gambia.
Meanwhile, a joint press conference was held preceding the award ceremony by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and World Health Organization. At the event, the WHO Representative, Dr Desta A. Tiruneh, explained WHO’s mandate, highlighted some of key milestones achieved in health development globally and in the WHO African Region as well as progress made in the implementation of UHC. Dr Tiruneh seized the opportunity to commend the media institutions, which were virtually all represented at the ceremony, for the good work they are doing. He also urged them to continue enlightening the public on UHC and other matters that are critical public health.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr Janko Jimbara, who spoke on behalf of the Hon. Minister of Health and Social Welfare, echoed similar sentiments but commended WHO for its continued support to the health sector. He also spoke about UHC and the Health Ministry’s commitment to implementing it in the Gambia through the support of the WHO and other partners.
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Mrs. Amie Njie, also expressed her gratitude to both WHO and the Ministry of Health for organizing this event and assured them of her Ministry’s commitment to further strengthening its existing collaboration with the health sector in the interest of public health. A veteran journalist and proprietor of a renowned private radio station in the Gambia, Mr Baboucarr Cham, in a brief statement commended both WHO and the Ministry of Health for their support to the media and for recognizing their contributions to health development in the Gambia.
Notwithstanding, on the eve and World Health Day, there were official statements by the Hon. Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Hon. Mrs Saffie Lowe-Ceesay and the WHO Representative, Dr Desta A. Tiruneh, were broadcasted on the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS).
The Hon. Minister reiterated the Gambia Government’s commitment to health in general and UHC in particular, and renewed her Ministry’s commitment to ensuring UHC becomes a reality in the Gambia through the guidance and support of the WHO. Dr Tiruneh, for his part, read the Regional Director’s message issued for WHD 2018.
WCO wishes to thank AFRO for providing funds to support these activities.