Mr George Osei-Bimpeh, the country Director for Send-Ghana, a non governmental organization, has called on journalists to write more in-depth stories based on research to feed the public with information that would spur national development.
He said the trend where journalists only report on programmes and issues based on speeches and do not follow up on issues was not the best and urged journalists to be innovative and creative in writing their stories.

Mr Osei-Bimpeh, who made the remarks during discussions at a two-day training programme for Ghana News Agency /MCAN journalists on the P4H project in the Eastern Region, said researching into issues by journalists sets the agenda which ultimately influences policy directions.

He said Ghana has come a long way in implementing policies relating to health and other developmental issues, however, the media approach “has not been structured well in terms of following projects and issues to its conclusion to enhance the understanding and citizenry participation”.

The P4H projects is a 5-year project on health being funded by the USAID and being implemented in 15 districts in 3 regions by a consortium comprising Send-Ghana, Pensplusbytes and the GNA.

It is to help increase advocacy and citizens’ participation in the health sector.
The two-day training was to school the journalists on the distinct role of the media in the project and the provisions of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) patient charter.
Under the project, five thematic areas have been identified to be focused on by GNA focal reporters and MCAN members selected from other media houses in the region and they include malaria, maternal health, nutrition, family planning, HIV/AIDS and water, sanitation and hygiene.

As part of the project, digital dashboard involving the use of mobile phones and social media would be provided in the implementing districts to enable the citizenry to give feedback and inputs into health policies and programs which would be collated as evidence by the consortium to demand answers and policy changes in the health sector to ensure equitability and accessibility.

Mrs Yaa Oforiwah Asare-Peasah, the Director of Editorial at the GNA, said the country has made gains in the provision of healthcare services, however, high maternal deaths, HIV infections, malaria and inequality in service delivery, remain a challenge
She said these has contributed to poor healthcare delivery leading to regional disparities and discrepancies in service provision related to sex, gender, age, occupation and socio-economic status adding that GNA was coming on board as an implementing partner of the project with many years of experience.

She said GNA, established as the communication arm of the government and the only wire service in the country, would deliver on their mandate as per their lead role in the P4H project and urged the participating journalist to show passion and diligence to realize the objective of the project.

Dr Doris Aglobitse, the MCAN coordinator, said the MCAN had been very instrumental in achieving most of the targeted goals under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
She said the media was critical in setting the agenda for policy interventions and was hopeful that with the expertise of the GNA, the target would be realized.
GNA