Africa: Meet the 40 CPHIA 2023 Journalism Fellows

Media plays a significant role in global health, from reporting on public health emergencies and challenges to getting public health messages to the communities, improving accountability and breaking down policies as well as sharing new research and innovations.

Recognising the importance of media in shaping public health discourse and imparting critical information to the African people, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has built on the Media Fellowship Programmes for CPHIA 2021 and CPHIA 2022 to establish the CPHIA 2023 Journalism Fellowship Programme. The programme will support 40 journalists on the continent with scholarships to attend the 3rd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2023) taking place from 27-30 November 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia.

Through the journalism fellowship programme, journalists will have the opportunity to receive training on scientific writing and communication, participate in conference sessions, gain first-hand knowledge of health challenges and innovations on the continent, interact with leading stakeholders in the health sector, and provide in-depth reportage of new research findings, scientific breakthroughs, and key takeaways from the conference.

The aim of the fellowship is to build a cohort of journalists across the continent with skills in the nuances of health reporting, which is expected to enhance public health discourse, promote knowledge dissemination, and strengthen accountability for health policies and programmes. Fellows will gain skills to help bridge the information gap, combat health misinformation, and raise awareness around key health issues.

The 40 fellows were chosen from a pool of more than 800 applicants, through a rigorous and competitive selection process. Fellows were chosen based on their compelling submissions and commitment to elevating public health reporting on the continent.

Over a six-month period, the fellows will participate in training based on a multifaceted curriculum blending the intersection of public health and journalism. The fellows will also receive extensive mentorship from seasoned journalists and media professionals to enhance their skills, and will have the opportunity to attend conference sessions and press briefings and to interview public health experts attending CPHIA 2023.

In welcoming the fellows to the programme, Prof. Margaret Gyapong, Director, of the Institute of Health Research and Co-chair of CPHIA 2023 said, “We are extremely proud to kickstart the CPHIA Journalism Fellowship Programme and to welcome our inaugural fellows. I implore the fellows to utilise the opportunity the fellowship will provide them to develop skills and networks that will advance their work, improve coverage of public health issues across the continent, and help us achieve the new public health order.”

Dr Benjamin Djoudalbaye, Head of Policy, Health Diplomacy and Communication at Africa CDC, said, “The CPHIA Journalism Fellowship Programme was borne out of the desire to build a network of specialist health reporters that understand the importance of public health communications, which we believe will improve coverage of health issues in African media. We look forward to supporting the inaugural fellows over the next six months and beyond to improve their skills and report on highly important public health challenges, solutions and innovations in Africa.”

The CPHIA Journalism Fellowship Programme will be delivered in partnership with allAfrica.com, one of the official media partners for CPHIA 2023. Juanita Williams, Managing Editor at AllAfrica.com, said, “This programme has been designed to provide critical skills to the fellows through a combination of training, mentorship, and on-the-ground experience. We have taken into account the needs and challenges of public health reporting on the continent, and have developed the fellowship curriculum to address the gaps and challenges that many health reporters face. We look forward to undergoing this journey with the fellows and supporting them during and after the fellowship.”

Please meet the CPHIA 2023 Journalism fellows.

For additional information about the conference and to register for the event, please visit www.cphia2023.com.

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