As one way of ensuring that Malawian journalists are providing maximum coverage on Maternal Child Health (MCH) issues, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS) recently held an orientation trainning workshop to over 15 journalists from different news organisations on the crucial role they can play as the fight for better Maternal and Child Health in Malawi continues.
The three day long workshop which took place at Coconut Lodge in Balaka was also aimed at among other things drilling the reporters on health rights and how best they can produce comprehensive health
reports as well as documentation of MCH issues.
Speaking at the event, FOCUS Executive Director Kossam Munthali said the media is very important when it comes to improving of MCH since many Malawians read online news, printed newspapers, listen to the radio and also watch television.
“The media is a vital channel through which such important information can be passed to the general Public. Let us join hands, lets move together and we will be able to build a better Malawi. As FOCUS we
are very committed and more than ready to assist you journalists whenever you are lacking something” said Munthali in his closing remarks at the workshop.
Balaka District Medical Officer (DMO) Leonard Chafewa hailed FOCUS for the training which he said will assist the journalists to come up with best MCH articles since they are now able to understand the medical
jargons through varous presentations made at the function.
“Health reporting requires that someone writing understands the terms and I appreciate what FOCUS has done in bringing us together. You journalists are the mouth piece and people alone in communities even
us Medical Officers cannot give out our voice to people who can take action to change things without your presence” said the DMO.
“Health reporting is being done but we are not doing enough so I urge you to do more and make sure you conduct proper and thorough research before writing your stories,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of fellow journalists, Charles Wahara from Malawi Broadcasting Corperation (MBC) thanked FOCUS for the training and urged other NGO’s to emulate an example set by FOCUS.
Wahara assured FOCUS and Malawians that journalists in the country will put an extra gear in health reporting particularly on Maternal Health issues.
During the trainning, reporters also had a field visit to five Health Centres around Balaka that included Chimatiro, Chiendausiku, Kwitanda, Kalembo and Namanolo.
The tour revealed that almost at all the Centres apart from one are operating without a maternity wing.
It was learnt that pregnant mothers are referred to Balaka or Machinga District Hospitals.
This is a big challenge and a threat to lives of pregnant mothers considering the fact that the distances that they cover are long to reach the district hospitals.
Poor sanitation, lack or portable water and electricity, shortage of medical staff are also some of the major challenges that require urgent attention.
Journalists that have been trained include some from MBC, Zodiak, Nation Publications Limited, Times Group, Luntha TV, Dziwe Community Radio, Radio Maria and Nyasa Times.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :