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Amref University starts new health course for journalists

Evelyn Makena @evemake_g

Amref International University has announced plans to offer short courses to health journalists to boost the standards of health reporting. The Nairobi-based training institution that focuses on health sciences training has partnered with Health Systems Advocacy Partnership (Hsap) and developed a training curriculum for a certificate course in health reporting.

The training is aimed at offering health reporters insights on various issues in health and enable them interpret contexts of information in the field to improve accuracy of reporting.

“It is hoped that the course will give impetus to the realisation of Universal Health Coverage in Africa,” said Joachim Osur, the Director Regional Programmes and Field Offices, Amref Health Africa.

Introduction to health journalism, understanding the health sector, understanding the medical sectors, reporting sexual and reproductive health and rights, covering disease outbreaks and data reporting are among some of the modules to be covered.

Kenya and other East African and Southern Africa countries presently grapple with strained relationships between journalists and scientists mainly due to mistrust stemming from misreporting.

According to Dr Osur, the course will be a step towards equipping health journalists with relevant information to address that challenge. “The certificate course, which is set to commence later this year, was created as a collaborative effort between health experts and media practitioners,” he said.

The course was created on Africa Media Network on Health AMNH request to address an education gap in health journalism. The network comprises a team of health journalists and editors from Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda. The duration of the course is two weeks (60 hours) combining both face-to-face classes and online (e-learning).