The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Sunday that it would partner with the media to address the humanitarian crisis in the North East, ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency.
Dr Solomon Woldetsadik, the WHO Incident Manager, Health Emergency Programme for the North East, announced the plan at an advocacy meeting with Media Executives in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
Woldetsadik said that the action was based on the role of the media in setting agenda in the society.
“The role of the media in setting agenda for the public and policy makers cannot be more appropriate in the ongoing crisis in the North East, in which more than 20,000 people have been killed with thousands more injured. This has triggered humanitarian crisis across the region,’’ he said.
The incident manager said that WHO believed that having a strong partnership with the media would help build trust between the organisation and the communities in the North East.
“We are trying to have a strong partnership with the media towards saving lives by addressing the humanitarian crisis in the North East and Borno in particular. To us, the media is a very important platform to use in effective behavioural and attitudinal changes in the community,’’ he said.
Woldetsadik said the partnership was aimed at averting diseases outbreak through timely dissemination of vital information to the public.
“The community has lots of trust in the media and if the information is coming from the media, like radio for instance, they will say it is true. If we can use the media to inform communities about diseases outbreaks and preventive measures, then we will have achieved a lot in saving lives.’’
Woldetsadik said that the partnership would also help in changing the attitudes of the people towards accessing modern health care services.
The WHO manager also said that the organisation would strive to empower the media by building the capacity of its personnel for better productivity.