For the first time, Kenya played host to journalists from Anglophone Africa, courtesy of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ).
The Training of Trainers for Journalists workshop in Public Health Emergencies was held in September 14 – 15 in Nairobi.
During the training, journalists were taken through various aspects such as understanding of the science of infectious diseases, their transmission, reproductive, fatality rates, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
They were also trained on public health emergency and how it is responded to locally and globally. They at the same time learnt how and where to get correct information plus understanding and communicating scientific data as well as structuring course outlines.
The training was conducted by highly experienced media personnel duo of Corinne Podger and Meera Senthilingam. Corinne is a tri-media journalist and media development trainer with over 20 years’ of experience in reporting for international news organizations key among them being ABC International and currently works for BBC Media Action. She is also managing Media Proactive Limited, her private training consultancy firm.
Meera is a multimedia and communications specialist with more than eight years experience in journalism. Meera works for CNN International and the BBC World Service. She holds a Masters Degrees in Science Communication and Public Health. She specializes in infectious diseases, and is a published public health researcher.
The training was part of three short-term workshops mounted by the WFSJ in Kenya, Egypt and the Ivory Coast to offer journalists a training of trainer’s skills with the aim of strengthening the journalist community to cover health emergencies.
The course also aimed at fostering exchanges of expertise among countries and regions, increase accessibility and uptake of health knowledge, evidence, provide practical informational tools and mentoring to journalists.
The training also dwelt in improving monitoring of emerging health issues in different regions and link local journalists to the wider international science-health journalism community.
“We intend to create a pool of local science journalist’s trainers by focusing on the competency of journalists in public health emergencies reporting and expect that they become the primary knowledge sharers with their colleagues in their respective countries,” the trainers observed.
Gaya Gamhewage, who is in charge of communications at the WHO Kenya Country office and has been involved in communication capacity building told participants that the global organization is keen to improving health communication by ensuring that journalists convey the right information from the right people.
Among the trainees from Kenya selected to participate in the seminar were Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association’s (KENSJA) chairperson Rosalia Omungo and member Justus Wanzala.
The workshop was attended by 21 journalists and was sponsored by the WHO.