23 May 2018

Malawi: Media Urged to Strengthen the Capacity of Reporting Health Issues

Lilongwe — Government has expressed the need to engage the media in all health activities taking place in the country to enhance communication between it and the public.

Director of Quality Management in the Ministry of Health, Dr Andrew Likaka said this Monday during the Media interface on decentralization, maternal health and HIV/AIDS issues in Salima.

He explained that the health sector is committed to open up to the media as well as the public to ensure transparency and accountability.

"As health experts we can improve our service delivery by engaging with the media, we want to open up as much as possible because we are accountable to the people and hence the engagement of the media to get the right information for the general public", Likaka pointed out.

He disclosed that Quality Management Department in the Ministry is putting up a section responsible for engagement with the media and strategic communication to create opportunities and provide access to information to increase efficiency.

Likaka encouraged the media to get involve in health issues in order to improve and get familiar with the jargons used by the health experts to enhance the coverage on issues affecting people's lives.

He noted that the media plays a big role in disseminating information to the public hence the need for decentralization process to be enhanced.

"Ministry of Health regards the media as one of the pillar that can lead to MNH and HIV/Aids reduction in the country through balanced reporting. We want to make sure that as we are implementing a number of reforms in the ministry, we want to make sure that you are updated," Likaka added.

He said as part of decentralization the media has to follow proper channels of getting information from health center to district level up to national level.

"If Kasungu district does not have a toilet the media should not come to ministry of health questioning why is that happening but should go to the district hospital and direct to the district council," Likaka revealed.

The Director pointed out that, "We want to appeal to you to start bringing awareness of decentralization on what are the roles district offices and the public in order to be efficient."

He said the Ministry would ably equip the media with trainings in order to improve the reporting and that everyone at every level should follow the health issues in a proper manner.

Likaka appealed to the media to continue working hand in hand and move together in order to improve the service delivery in the health sector.

Deputy Director for Clinical Services in the Ministry, Nedson Fosiko said there is need to promote quality assurance in delivery of clinical care services in the country.

He added that the media should help in bringing awareness to the public the need not to bypass lower level facilities to enhance decentralization in order to avoid overcrowding at high level facilities.

Fosko noted that government through the Ministry of Health is providing an essential health package through primary health care strategies hence the need for media to be engaged in reporting health issues.

The Deputy Director was quick to point out lack of accountability by health care providers for their referral decision and stressed the need of coordination in the referral processes.

"Malawi is developing with lots of development projects such as decentralization, high clinical standards as well as quality management in the health sector among others," Fisiko observed.

The two-day media interface meeting draw different personnel from various media houses and facilitators from different departments from the health sector.

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