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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Uganda Health Journalists Win Global Population Media Award

 January 2015

Uganda Health Journalists won this year’s Population Institute 35th Annual Global Media Awards competition with their special edition on reproductive health policy.

It was produced with support from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB)’s USAID-funded IDEA project.

The edition is the sixth edition of the periodical, The Health Digest, which is produced by the Health Journalists Network in Uganda (HEJNU), made up of health reporters dedicated to increasing awareness about health care issues and improving health literacy among Africans.

The Health Digest won the award for the Best Article or Series of Articles. The Population Institute honoured all the Uganda health journalists at a function held in Washington D.C on January 15th 2015.

Esther Nakkazi, a freelance science journalist and the president of HEJNU picked up the award on their behalf. Also present for award ceremony was Chris Conte the senior consulting editor of The Health Digest and Deborah Mesce from PRB.
Esther with Bob Walker and Bill Ryerson (Award Ceremony)

Population Institute officials said they were proud to recognize this year’s winners for their profound insights and their journalistic excellence. “Their voices deserve to be heard and their efforts acknowledged.”

The team of Uganda health reporters who won endeavored to go beyond the everyday reporting on reproductive health; they delved deeper into the problems and analyzed attempts to resolve them from a policy perspective, said a statement from Population Reference Bureau that funded the edition. “With robust reporting and careful editing, they produced a magazine deserving of an award.”

The edition carries 19 articles scrutinizing Uganda's reproductive health policies and their implementation, and lays a pathway to improvement.

The articles, among other subjects, examined the economic benefits of family planning, the reasons why many women are not using contraceptives, new strategies for addressing gender-based violence, and the need for better sex education in the schools.

It also examines the country's high rate of maternal mortality, the brain drain of health workers, and the possible consequences of Uganda's rapidly growing population. It also compared Uganda’s policies with its neighbors; Rwanda and Kenya.

HEJNU was founded in 2011. It has 80 members – all journalists who report on heath regularly. Its members represent all major Uganda media houses. The organisation also has partnerships with various non-governmental organisations, academic and research institutions.

HEJNU publishes The Health Digest, twice a year and convenes a health journalism convention each year. HEJNU also recently started holding monthly science cafes on HIV prevention supported by AVAC, advocates for HIV prevention to end AIDS. The first one held on the 13th of January 2015 was about microbicides and kick started by Dr. Patrick Ndase, Sylvia Nakasi and Angelo Kaggwa.

Previous issues of The Health Digest have focused on maternal health, cancer, kidney disease, preventive health, epidemics and the latest was on vaccines. All these can be found on HEJNU’s website, www.henju.ug.

Another Ugandan organisation also won in the Best Film category. The Hope in the Basin: Voices of the People, a 20 documentary, highlights the success that an integrated population, health and environment (PHE) program is having in helping to protect Africa’s Lake Victoria.

The film documents how local communities and organizations—like OSIENALA (Friends of Lake Victoria) and the Ecological Christian Organization—are coming together to restore fish stocks in Lake Victoria.

The film also looks at how Pathfinder International is saving and improving lives by making family planning and reproductive services available to women living in the Lake Victoria basin.
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For more information contact HEJNU (estanakkazi@gmail.com)

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