Nigeria Health Watch, a not-for-profit health communication and advocacy organisation is partnering with the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA), renowned for its recognition of healthcare heroes to host a groundbreaking initiative: the “Prevent Epidemics Journalism Award”. This new category in NHEA celebrates outstanding media reportage on epidemic preparedness and response across radio, print, and television.

Vivianne Ihekweazu, Nigeria Health Watch Managing Director, explains that “The Prevent Epidemics Journalism Awards recognises journalists that raise awareness among public and policymakers on the importance of funding epidemic preparedness and response. This recognition on NHEA platform inspires journalists to continue their vital role to ensure we are able to safeguard the country’s health security”.

Dr. Wale Alabi, NHEA Project Director, emphasized the significance of this collaboration, stating, “This partnership with Nigeria Health Watch represents a significant milestone in acknowledging and celebrating the critical role of journalists in epidemic preparedness and response. The Prevent Epidemics Journalism Award will not only honor outstanding reporting but also contribute to raising the bar for healthcare journalism standards in Nigeria.”

Previous award winners have written articles that emphasising the importance of preparing for epidemics in Nigeria. In the 2022 edition, Abdulqudus Ogundapo of The Nation Newspaper won the Print/ Online News Category for his story on how poor funding and technology hinders local COVID-19 vaccine production, while ARISE Television also won the television category for outstanding coverage of COVID-19 and epidemic preparedness.

Since inception, the eligibility criteria for nominated articles or shows has centered around three key categories: epidemic preparedness and response to disease outbreaks in Nigeria, community awareness with a focus on improving awareness of infectious diseases while itemizing the roles of citizens and actors in epidemic preparedness and response, and budget and funding related stories. The latter should effectively communicate the amount of funding allocated for epidemic preparedness and response, highlighting existing funding gaps, and propose appropriate next steps.

NHEA, the Oscar of the Nigeria healthcare, celebrates individuals and organisations in the Nigerian healthcare sector, and has been instrumental in raising awareness, setting standards, and promoting excellence in healthcare services. The Prevent Epidemics Journalism Award expands this mission by recognizing the media’s pivotal role in epidemic preparedness and response in Nigeria.

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