According to the practitioners, for the first time, members of the profession had gotten the opportunity to utilise a one –stop medical exercise, which offered a comprehensive service to address their health needs.

The free health screening was organised under the theme: “Good Health Better Life, the Role of Media Practitioners in National Building”. It was patronised by about 500, including some Osu residents near the Independence Square, the venue for the exercise.

Media practitioners from the Ghana News Agency, Ghanaian Times, Graphic Communications Group, UTV, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Multimedia Group, TV Africa, the Ghana International Press Centre and many other media houses, both private and state-owned, as well as some security officials benefited from the exercise, on Friday.

The screening and treatment covered the eye conditions, Blood Pressure, Blood sugar, HIV, breast and cervical cancer examination, syphilis, malaria hepatitis ‘B’, among other illnesses. Medications were also provided except for those that were out of stock for which prescriptions were provided.

Mrs Yaa Oforiwah Asare – Peasah, the News Editor of the Ghana News Agency said: “I’m very impressed with what I have seen today. In my 35 years of journalism practice, I have not seen such a thorough medical outreach where practitioners can have access to such a holistic care free of charge”.

“Usually, such exercises are carried out in on a smaller scale to cover one or two health challenges but this one is being done on large scale for several diseases whether communicable or non-communicable”.

Mrs Asare – Peasah, therefore, thanked the Management of the Family Health Group, the Lordina Foundation and other collaborators for “remembering Ghanaian journalists” and reaching out to them at a time when journalists were preparing to cover a hectic exercise as the General Election.

“On behalf of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Ghana News Agency and all the journalists who benefitted from the outreach, I want to say a big thank you to the organisers, especially the medical team for their concern and the services provided,” Mrs Asare – Peasah, a former National Treasurer of GJA, said.

She, however, urged her colleagues to regularly check their health status to ensure that they were healthy to go through their hectic schedules for their own good and that of the nation.

Ms Regina Woode, a journalist with the Amansan Television, described the health screening as “a good initiative because most journalists rarely got the time to visit the hospital to seek for medical assistance”.

Mr Kelvin Nana Osei, a cameraman with United Television (UTV) said: “The health screening is okay since it will help us to know about our health issues because most media practitioners hardly undergo such screening.

“It should be done continuously for us, at least once in a month.

Meanwhile, the First Lady in a speech read on her behalf, by Dr Angela El-Adas, the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, described the work that journalists, editors, photojournalists and the entire production crew do as “so demanding that it requires frequent check-ups to ensure their healthy status.”

She said the health screening did not only help identify health conditions but offered the opportunity for beneficiaries to receive pieces of advice on how to take good care of themselves.

“We need you alive and healthy for mother Ghana,” Mrs Mahama said.

Dr El-Adas commended the media for the critical role they were playing to ensure that the citizens got the right information about HIV and AIDs and other health care needs.

Mr Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health, said the exercise had come at such a time in an election year, which meant more work for journalists.

He said the media played a critical role in national development, therefore, practitioners needed to ensure that they were healthy at all times.

He said Government would continue with efforts aimed at taking health care to the doorsteps of Ghanaians, with mobile outreach specialists’ services for those in the hinterlands.

Professor Yao Kwawukume, the President of the Family Health Group, said media practitioners often forgot to even take care of themselves due to the nature of their work.

However, they faced a lot of stress as they carried out their news gathering and sitting for long hours writing or editing their stories.

He said his organisation, therefore, thought it wise to collaborate with the Foundation as well as interested stakeholders to screen journalists and to advise them on the need to take good care of themselves.

He gave the assurance that more of the screening programmes would be rolled out for journalists in the regions and in the hinterlands, as well.

Source: GNA/News Ghana

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