African Health Budget Network (AHBN)

AHBN Institutes Health Hazard Trust Fund for Journalists

The Coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network, Dr Aminu Magashi, on Friday, announced a commitment of N1m as a take-off grant for the Emergency and Health Hazards Trust Fund for health journalists.

Dr Magashi who paid the sum of N250,000 to the trust fund account of the Association of the Nigeria Health Journalists called on Nigerians, all levels of government, development partners, and the private sector to empathise with journalists and recognise their humanity as they serve society.

He said the fund is meant to support health journalists during emergencies and health hazards.

Speaking at the AHNeJ congress meeting in Abuja, Magashi emphasised that it is time to acknowledge journalists’ personal challenges.

According to him, the trust fund for the members of ANHeJ was established in recognition of journalists’ importance to society and their frequent neglect.

He said, “Everyone often takes the journalist for granted, we don’t even want to know what they are going through when they are invited to come and provide coverage of our events for Dissemination to the public. We often look down on them, which was why some organisers of events would even shout at a journalist who is late to the event, while not bothering what could be the reason.

“At AHBN, we felt that it is time to change the narrative and the perception of our journalist and we believe that their welfare and well-being should not be taken for granted. This is in no way to influence their reportage because there is no way professional journalists would manipulate facts that are there for everyone to see.

“But, the fact remains that they are human like everyone else, they have feelings, they have commitments and have a duty that was constitutionally recognized, the society should not take that for granted”.

Regarding the fund’s operation that is domiciled in the association, he said that it is designed to support any association member facing health challenges or hazards encountered while performing their duties.

He urged the public and organisations that rely on journalists to promote their activities to consider emulating AHBN’s initiative for ANHeJ.

“We are not doing this for any selfish reason, that is why I enjoin well-meaning Nigerians, the private sector, government ministries, departments, and agencies, to contribute to this fund so that it will be sustained.

“We need to sustain it because when the journalists are assured of being valued by society, we can expect that the best can only come from them,” he added.

Reacting to AHBN’s kind gesture, the ANHeJ’s President, Joseph Kadiri promised that transparency and accountability would be strictly adhered to in the management of the fund.

He also commended AHBN’s positive impact on the journalism profession in the country.

SOURCE: HealthWise