A PREMIUM TIMES senior health reporter, Nike Adebowale-Tambe, was the winner of the third edition of the Prevent Epidemics Journalism Award (PEJA) on Friday.

The annual award is organized by Nigeria Health Watch, a non-profit health communication and advocacy organization that seeks to promote better health for Nigerians.

Ms Tambe won the print/online news category with her story titled: “World TB Day 2022: Stigma, insufficient funding and other factors threaten the elimination of the disease in Nigeria” and published in March 2022.

The story focuses on the challenges that stand in the way of eliminating tuberculosis (TB), a deadly disease, from Nigeria.

Although a vaccine-preventable disease, statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that each year, about 245,000 Nigerians die from the disease and there are about 590,000 new cases.

TB is identified as the number one deadly infectious disease in the world and also among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

Other winners of the prestigious award include Ezedimbu Ogom from African Independent Television (AIT) who won the award in the TV program category, and Blessing Enebeli from Voice of Nigeria (VON) who won the award in the radio category.

A senior health reporter with PREMIUM TIMES, Nike Adebowale-Tambe with other awardees

annual award ceremony

The annual event celebrates television, radio and print journalists whose reporting on epidemic preparedness and response has been exemplary in drawing the attention of the public and policymakers to the need to adequately fund programs to prevent, detect and respond to public health emergencies.

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The third edition is labeled: “Celebration of Media Excellence in Epidemic Preparedness and Response.”

Speaking at the ceremony in Abuja, Nigeria Health Watch Managing Director Vivianne Ihekweazu said the importance of epidemic preparedness and the role of the media in achieving it cannot be stressed enough.

Ms. Ihekweazu, while praising the winners, urged other journalists to focus their attention on epidemic preparedness and adequate health financing.

In his remarks, the WHO representative in the country, Walter Mulombo, praised the organizers for facilitating strong collaboration with the media through the “epidemic prevention project.”

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Represented by Tugumizemu Victor, Mr. Mulombo said the project has helped raise public and policy makers’ awareness while calling for epidemic preparedness.

He said the event underscores the need to meaningfully engage critical stakeholders to accelerate and make Nigeria and the world safer from epidemics with advocacy and action.

“We all know that outbreaks have multiple drivers, affect many people, and require action from all of us,” he said.

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He said that all countries must be able to find, prevent and stop epidemics and also build a resilient health system.

Mulombo said that the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging diseases such as Lassa fever have revealed gaps in epidemic preparedness in many countries, including Nigeria. “If left unchecked, this can result in terrible danger.”

“There is no single path to epidemic prevention, therefore all countries must find their way in the context of their own sociopolitical and economic circumstances.”

Nigeria Coordinator, Prevent Epidemics, Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), Emmanuel Alhassan, said PEJA is always a time to recognize the great work done by journalists to ensure epidemic preparedness issues are brought to the forefront of news stories. health discussions.

Alhassan said prevention is always better than cure, so “we all need to work with journalists to ensure that governments make the necessary investments and take the issue of health security in Nigeria more seriously.”

He said working with partners is essential to scale up this advocacy work, and collaborations with organizations like Nigeria Health Watch will ensure Nigeria’s health security is strengthened.

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