Cameroon – Covid-19 : Journalists Trained on Risk Reporting

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They have been urged to inspire hope in the population.

By Cameroon Tribune

Over 20 media practitioners from both the private and public media in the Littoral region have been trained on “Risk Communication” with focus on the Covid-19 pandemic. The training that took place on 29 of April 2020  at the Littoral Governor’s office was sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in partnership with the Cameroon Association of Health Communicators Littoral Chapter. With the outbreak of the Covid-19, journalists are at the forefront of events as they get information on daily basis to feed the public. They get to the experts and other stakeholders so as to give the right information.

With this in mind, the organizers of the workshop made participants to understand that risk communication is an important tool for disseminating information and understanding about risk management decision. It allows stakeholders to make informed conclusions about how the decision will impact their interests and values. The main resource person, who is also the Risk Communication and Community Engagement agent at the World Health Organisation- WHO, Nguelle Carlene Romance, reminded

journalists that their reports have a great influence both on the population and on decision makers. Consequently, they have to report correctly and inspire hope in the population.

She said communication is very important in every pandemic as it helps stakeholders to evaluate the situation and know what steps to take in order to avert the situation. Nguelle Carlene Romance emphasised that risk communication permits the exchange of real-time information, advice and opinions between experts and people facing threats to their health, economic or social well-being. She concluded that the ultimate purpose of risk communication is to enable people at risk to take informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones.

According to the Littoral chapter president of the Cameroon Association of Health Communicators, Alain Njipou, the seminar was aimed at strengthening the capacities of journalists and communicators with the necessary tools for understanding the challenges of the fight against Covid 19. ‘We wanted to get journalists to better communicate about the risk of the pandemic in order to change the behaviour of the citizens and

masses and make them adopt good practices. The Covid-19 pandemic is a real threat. It is a health war, journalists and media professionals must be on the frontline of this health fight through effective and efficient communication. To achieve this, they need to be equipped”, he added.

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