CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka
A UNITED States (US) based international organisation involved in the provision of HIV/AIDS services says Zambia cannot achieve its national health goals without the participation of the media.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation Zambia country programme manager Mavuto Kango said on Tuesday that the media has a huge role to play in the dissemination of information on health issues, especially HIV/AIDS.
Dr Kango was speaking during a media relation skills training workshop for AHF staff and management.
The training was conducted by the Zambia Daily Mail as part of the partnership between the two organisations.
â€œWe organised this training to share knowledge on how to work with the media in Zambia so that the beneficiaries of our work know and appreciate what we are doing,â€ Dr Kango said.
He said there are many issues about HIV/AIDS which the media can help communicate to the public such us the impact of stigma and how to address it.
â€œFor example, we have people living with HIV dropping out of treatment programmes for unknown reasons. The media can help find the causes and educate people on the importance of remaining on medication,â€ Dr Kango said.
He said AHF has been working in Zambia with the Ministry of Health for 10 years, but little is known about its work and its benefits to the people of Zambia.
â€œBy providing services such as prevention and treatment, we are making people productive again. If we treat a teacher, for example, and he or she goes back to work, we have also saved the future of over 50 pupils. But without engagement with the media, our contribution to the development of this country will not be known,â€ Dr Kango said.
And Nigerian-based AHF communications manager for Africa Oluwakemi Gbadamosi, who co-facilitated the training, said the organisation wants to equip its staff with practical knowledge on how to relate with the media, and use it to communicate with its stakeholders.
â€œIt is important to equip our technical team with skills on how to engage with the media and build our visibility in Zambia,â€ Ms Gbadamosi said.
Zambia Daily Mail production editor Charles Chisala, online editor Mwazipeza Chanda and information technology infrastructure specialist Emmanuel Kalenge conducted the training.
Participants were drawn from AHFâ€™s operational sites and head office in Lusaka and Southern Province, and the National AIDS Council (NAC).
AHF operates in 38 countries across the globe, and 13 in Africa, including Zambia.
Media urged to help Zambia achieve health goals
CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka