By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna
Following low visibility of nutrition stories in the Nigeria media space, journalists have been tasked to link nutrition to other relevant sectors, such as agric, WASH, education, etc to reverse the negative indices of malnutrition.
The call was contained in a communique issued at the end of a 3-day capacity building of journalists for improved nutrition reportage and visibility organized by Civil Society -Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN).
According to the communique, there is need for journalists to improve their skills in understanding the art of writing compelling and impact driven nutrition stories.
They noted that the media are partners in progress in addressing the menace of malnutrition and therefore charged journalists to understand their roles and powers in changing the malnutrition indices in Nigeria
“Media practitioners should embrace a paradigm shift from event-based reporting to solutions journalism in the context of nutrition research. Journalists should be creative and innovative in their reportage of nutrition issues.
“The media should drive discussions around nutrition with all relevant stakeholders, stories from media practitioners on nutrition should be compelling and solutions based with in-depth research. The communique said.
The added that the “media should not concentrate on health pages and programs alone but look into other non-health related issues and link nutrition to them. Journalists should explore collaborative story development, cross border reporting with adequate scientific research and data analysis for greater development impact.
“Journalists should develop skills to monitor, track, analyse and report budgetary allocations for nutrition.”
They encouraged journalists to embark on field investigations on Community-based related interventions such as Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) centres, etc and translate findings from the field to stories.
On issue of inadequate funding by the government which serves as a major driver of malnutrition the group urged government to improve investments for nutrition programs.
They task government to move from emergency treatment of malnutrition to preventive and provision of routine nutritional services.
The three-day media training was aimed at improving the understanding of the media on the impact of malnutrition, improving the media’s capacity for effective nutrition reporting and securing their commitment to write nutrition stories based on agreed nutrition themes.
The meeting was in line with CS-SUNN’s goal of building key partnerships with the media to magnify the voice for improved nutrition in Nigeria. It will ensure opportunities to raise awareness, build understanding, change perceptions, and motivate target audiences to act on nutrition issues to reverse the negative indices.
Participants were drawn from media platforms including; Television, Radio, Newspapers and Online from five (5) States of Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna and Kano including Abuja where CS-SUNN is currently implementing the Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS) 2.0 project.