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Twitter, Amref Health Africa to deliver skills training

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Elizabeth Merab (left), Official, Nation Media Group, receiving a prestigious global universal health coverage award from Lizz Ntonjira (right), Global Communication Director, Amref Health Africa

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.

The two-year partnership deal seeks to build competencies for credible reporting.

This comes on the heels of the ongoing coronavirus (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.

Enhancing public health

The Global Communication Director at Amref Health Africa, Elizabeth Ntonjira, in a statement on July 18, said the role of media in enhancing public health information was indisputable.

According to him, 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.

He said 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 was critical in ensuring that media practitioners were knowledgeable, equipped and empowered to tackle health-related stories that impacted communities.

He said 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.

Positive power of Twitter

The Head of Public Policy in-charge of Sub-Saharan Africa at Twitter, Emmanuel Lubanzadio, stated that “We have always prioritised using the positive power of Twitter to strengthen our communities by surfacing credible, authoritative information.”

He said journalism was core to the service and Twitter has a deep and enduring responsibility to protect that work.

“We are therefore committed to supporting Amref in their efforts towards ensuring ethical health reporting, in order to help people, find reliable information both online and offline.”

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