21 June 2023
Diseases transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonosis. They seriously impact human health. The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly emphasized the urgency of a better understanding and preventing zoonoses through the “One Health” approach. Furthermore, the public is often misinformed about the risks associated zoonosis, which promotes the spread of misinformation and rumors. Training journalists on zoonosis and the One Health approach is important to improve public awareness and understanding.
Through the invitation of the news website Eburnie Today and the association “Initiatives pour le Développement communautaire et la conservation de la Forêt (IDEF)”, Afrique One has strengthened the capacities of around twenty journalists coming from local and national print, radio and web newsrooms. The training was held on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 and is part of their programme on promoting One Health.
“Communication plays an important role in terms of providing information to the population. It is necessary for the key actors in this communication, such as journalists, television and radio producers, to be well-informed about the new public health issues and not be left out of this international One Health promotion movement, which is developing globally. It was important for those who possess this knowledge to connect with the media. The objective is to establish a connection between the research community and media professionals for more open collaboration,” said Suy Kahofi, Director of Eburnie Today.
The organizers have selected three topics: (i) zoonosis, (ii) One Health and (iii) source of information. Afrique One has prepared 5 training modules to cover the topics. Five members of Afrique One, including the Director, Professor Bassirou Bonfoh, facilitated the training. In addition to presenting the One Health approach, they showcased specific case studies of the application of One Health in the prevention and management of certain diseases.
These different presentations were prepared with the support of Dr. Aurelie Cailleau, Training coordinator of Afrique One and Dr. Kathrin Heitz-Tokpa, Programme manager of Afrique One. A role-playing game involving exchanges between Afrique One researchers and journalists has concluded the training.
“Training the media on public health issues, with a focus on the One Health approach, is part of our mission at Afrique One. Afrique One has repeatedly shared its expertise with the media. We are ready to share the results of our scientific work with the non-academic world (media, artists, etc.) to contribute to improving knowledge and changing population behaviors regarding zoonosis,” said Prof. Bassirou Bonfoh.
After three hours of presentations and discussions, the journalists left the training with great satisfaction.
“This training, which connects us with scientists, allows us to get even closer to them, to have new sources of information in the exercise of our journalistic profession. The knowledge we acquired will help inform communities about the different types of existing zoonosis and contribute to the prevention of zoonosis through the popularization of the One Health approach,” said Kindo Ousseny, Editor-in-Chief of the website Man-ville.net
“Health issues are sensitive and require a lot of seriousness. I really appreciated the opportunity to participate in that training,” said Lydie Coulibaly, independent journalist.
To see photos of the activity, click here : https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAJVeZ