As applications closed on 31 December 2023, 116 health reporters from over 20 African countries applied for the first-ever Africa Diseases Reporting Fellowship (ADReF) for Journalists announced earlier in December by a nongovernmental organisation. This is according to information exclusively made available to AkweyaTV on 4 January 2024, by Ms Sarah Yusuf, the Director of Learning and Development at the NGO, Africa Diseases Prevention and Research Development Initiative (ADRAP).
“It’s heartwarming to see the kind of positive responses we have received since the announcement of the fellowship,” said Sarah, who oversees the fellowship’s online interaction and presence. “Applications came from Uganda, Liberia, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Benin Republic, DRC, Cameroon, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola, Burundi, The Gambia, Mozambique, Botswana, and Ghana, and this gives the kind of African representation we aimed to achieve.”
When the Africa Diseases Prevention and Research Development Initiative (ADRAP) announced the commencement of its first-ever Africa Diseases Reporting Fellowship for Journalists, it said, “This groundbreaking initiative aims to empower journalists across the African continent to report accurately and effectively on critical health issues.”
The six-week hybrid programme will consist of virtual and in-person contacts with experts in the fields of health and journalism. Topics to be covered would include Foundations of Health Journalism, Health Literacy, Research and Disease Reporting, Contextual Reporting of Epidemics and Pandemics in Africa, Reporting Emerging Infectious and Non-Communicable Diseases (Focus on Ebola and Post-Partum Haemorrhage), and Data in Disease Reporting. The fellows would also be exposed to advances in multimedia and storytelling and the ethical use of artificial intelligence in journalism, as well as learning from the experiences of other participants.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of ADRAP, Dr. Joseph Enegela, “Establishing the Africa Diseases Reporting Fellowship for Journalists aims to elevate the quality of health reporting across Africa, equipping African journalists and bloggers with the knowledge and resources necessary to address critical health issues in the region.”
The #ADReF programme is spearheaded by Mr Onche Odeh, who brings a wealth of experience to the role of Coordinator. Alongside him, the fellowship boasts the expertise of Odoh Diego Okenyodo, a seasoned development communication expert and journalist with experience training African journalists for international development organisations, who serves as the Faculty Lead. They are to work with Uganda-based science journalist Esther Nakkazi, who brings on board many years of experience in health reporting, media training, and mentorship of younger journalists.
A key member of the faculty is Oga Steve Abah, a Professor of Theatre for Development and Participatory Development Methods in Drama and Theatre for Development at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
Together, they shall provide mentorship and guidance for the Fellows and the project.
Olanrewaju Olaiya MD, MPH, AAHIVS, PMD-Pro 2, Senior Director of Global Health at ADRAP, will contribute valuable insights and guidance where needed, drawing from his extensive knowledge in the global health sector.
Additionally, Oga Akoh, the project’s IT expert, will provide essential technical support to ensure the smooth operation of the fellowship programme.
The Africa Diseases Prevention and Research Development Initiative (ADRAP) is a non-governmental organisation incorporated in Nigeria in 2013 to create and sustain a world-class institution that supports the implementation of topical and outcomes-driven human disease research, health care system intervention, and continuous medical education, as well as the use of innovative learning techniques to continually impart knowledge.