ARUA, UGANDA: Journalists in the West Nile region have today, November 26, 2021, been reminded that Covid-19, poses a real threat to their occupation which must be treated with all the urgency it deserves.
The West Nile journalists who concluded a three-day training on Covid-19, preparedness and resilience at Royal Crane Resort in Arua City, were tasked with the responsibility of Covid-19, risk assessment at the various media houses they work for, in order to avert mass infections of both staff journalists and clienteles.
The training that was convened by SAVE the CHILDREN International is designed to equip the scribes with the basic skills in Covid-19, risks communication which is in line with response preparedness and resilience.
The members of the fourth estate were taken through the pillars of Covid-19, responses and management including; surveillance, case management, coordination, home-based care, transport and logistics among others.
The facilitators; Anziku Manaseh, senior health Inspector, Arua district local government and Tabu Christine the Nutrition Focal point person Arua district local government, demonstrated adequate knowledge on Covid-19, and educated the journalists on classifying primary clinical signs and symptoms of Covid-19.
The skills acquired according to the trainers should act as self-safe guards to the media practitioners ‘since journalists have been part of the essential workers and will continue to play a front line role especially in risk communication.
Tabu Christine observed “When you make an elaborate risks assessments of Covid-19, in your respective media houses it will inform your decisions on mitigation measures thereby achieving covid-19, safe environment”
The Arua district senior health inspector Anziku Manaseh however cautioned the media fraternity against circulating nonscientific arguments on the social media questioning the efficacy of the vaccines, which he notes has been approved by WHO and International drugs regulatory bodies including the National Drugs Authority of Uganda.
The journalists in reaction said some of the management of the media houses have underestimated the dangers posed by the deadly coronavirus disease to the extent that they have refused to invest in Covid-19, control measures.
The routine disinfection of the office premises including studios and equipment, the procurement of face masks and sanitizers to cater for both clients and journalists on duty has been grossly neglected, according to a section of journalists.
Above all, the journalists especially working with radio and television stations wants the office of DHOs to intervene and strictly enforce social distancing in the studios since some defiant government officials forcefully overcrowd in the studio against the advice of program hosts and management.
Covid-19 index case in the West Nile region was registered and confirmed on April 25, 2020, Molukwoda village, Central parish, Adjumani town council, in Adjumani district, it then spread to other districts in the region.
The inquisitive journalists were however perplexed to learn that Covid-19,data on journalists in West Nile region is lacking when that of health workers is readily available and now wants their data included in the health information systems.