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We need media support to prevent, curb epidemics – NCDC boss


… holds workshop to sensitize health editors

Dr. Ihekweazu (Centre in black) in a group photograph with the health editors

The National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu today, June 1, reiterated the need for journalists to be fully involved in government’s efforts to curtail different epidemics and disease outbreaks in the country.

In a brief remark to welcome participants to a workshop organised for health editors in Lagos by the agency, Dr. Ihekweazu said media involvement is crucial for effective dissemination of information on efforts to control the diseases during outbreaks and the needed public enlightenment to prevent their occurence.

He expressed his desire to partner with the health editors and stressed the need for them to work closely with NCDC while covering epidemics and disease ourbreaks from time to time.

“We are strenthening our engagement with you. We want to create relationship between NCDC and your various media so you can have access to us personally to help you develop stories and gain parspectives from our side,” he told the editors.

While commending the media for their efforts in the past, he also drew attention to the tasks ahead, saying journalists need to do more in enlightening the public about the diseases and major health issues requiring the attention of both government and the people.

“we encourage you to dig deep,” he further said, stressing the need for journalists to beam their searchlight on raging public health issues.

“For instance, we have a big challenge with antimicrobial resistance. A lot of antibiotics we use to fight diseases are not going to work in a few years because we use them for everything.

“This is the only country – if you know of any other, please tell me – where you still go to an open market and you buy antibiotics the same way you buy pepper and groundnut. It doesn’t happen anywhere else, not even in Africa,” he said, urging the health editors to develop well researched stories to bring facts like these to the attention of Nigerians and enlighten them on the need to embrace rational use of antibiotics.

“Next time you take your child to the doctor and he’s given antibiotic, it may not work,” he warned.

Dr. Ihekweazu disclosed that the workshop was designed to update the journalists on the common epidemic-prone diseases in the country and also to provide a forum for interaction between them and NCDC.

“I urge you to nurture the relationship we are developinmg today,” he pleaded.

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