Twitter partner Amref Health to deliver skills training to African journalists

James Allex, a Community Health Worker from Ibba county in South-Sudan, administers a bacilli Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine.

Twitter and Amref Health Africa, a leading Nairobi-based health development organisation, have announced their continued collaboration to provide skills and capacity-building training in best practices for health reporting. This comes on the heels of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and amid growing concerns about recently reported cases of Monkeypox across the continent.

Since its launch in 2020, the media scholarship programme by Amref Health Africa, in partnership with Amref International University and Twitter, has awarded scholarships to high-achieving African journalists to pursue Health Communication and Journalism courses.

The partnership between Amref and Twitter, which has been renewed in 2022, aims to enhance knowledge, build skills and nurture the competencies of journalists, public relations professionals and health managers on all aspects related to health reporting.

In a statement, Elizabeth Ntonjira, Global Communication Director at Amref, said, “The role of media in enhancing public health information is indisputable. Media advocacy for health ensures that the right information gets to the people in order to make informed decisions; and also, the right policies are enacted and implemented to achieve a country’s health goals. Media practitioners must therefore have the right skills and capacity to contribute to improving the health of populations effectively, and that’s the goal of this course. This partnership with Twitter is critical in ensuring that media practitioners are knowledgeable, equipped and empowered to tackle health related stories that impact communities”

Since 2020, Twitter’s financial contribution has enabled over 40 journalists and health communication professionals to attend the course and strengthen their health reporting skills.

“We have always prioritised using the positive power of Twitter to strengthen our communities by surfacing credible, authoritative information. Journalism is core to our service and we have a deep and enduring responsibility to protect that work. We are therefore committed to supporting Amref in their efforts toward ensuring ethical health reporting in order to help people find reliable information both online and offline,” said Emmanuel Lubanzadio, Head of Public Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The first cohort of the scholarship programme was held between 9th November and 4th December 2020, with 15 participants successfully completing the course. Tuition for the second cohort took place between 9th August and 3rd September 2021, with another set of 25 candidates attending the course. In 2022, 10 participants are expected to complete the course.

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