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NAN Reporter Wins Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

A senior health journalist with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ms. Racheal Abujah has won the 2024 Media Award on Epidemic Prevention in Nigeria.

This accolade was presented on Friday in Lagos State at the 2024 Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA), themed: “Navigating Tomorrow: Accelerating Strategies for Healthcare Transformation.”

Ms. Abujah has been recognised for her outstanding work in reporting on epidemic prevention.

NHEA is an initiative of the Global Health Project and Resources in partnership with the Anadach Group.

The award celebrates distinguished personalities and organizations who have significantly contributed to the growth of the Nigerian health sector.

NHEA’s recognition aims to stimulate quality improvement and innovation in the Nigerian health sector, leading to improved service delivery, better management of key health issues, and the capacity of individuals to set new performance standards in Nigeria and beyond.

Abujah, a multiple award winner, secured the Nigeria Health Watch Prevent Epidemic Award in the Print/Online News category for her story titled: “Counting the Cost: Epidemic Preparedness Budget in Nigeria.”

She was in the category alongside Health Editor of Daily Trust Newspaper, Mrs Ojoma Akor and Mr Usman Mustapha, a solution journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Mr Mustafa Salisu Yakubu, a reporter with AREWA AGENDA and Mr. Arinze Chijoke, a freelance multimedia journalist.

The senior health correspondent’s award-winning article provided a comprehensive assessment of Nigeria’s health security, highlighting critical findings and recommendations.

“It identified significant challenges such as inadequate funding, gaps in healthcare infrastructure, and weaknesses in disease surveillance systems.

“These factors collectively undermine Nigeria’s ability to respond effectively to health emergencies.

“The article also underscored the urgent need for increased investment in healthcare, improvements in disease surveillance, and stronger public-private partnerships,” she said.

She called on the government and the private sector to address these recommendations, as they were crucial to fortifying the country’s health security against future outbreaks and ensuring sustainable development.

Professor Uche Amazigo, a Parasitologist and Public Health Specialist, was honoured with the NHEA Lifetime Achievement Award for her exemplary contribution to global health, particularly in Africa.

Amazigo, with over 70 scientific articles in international journals, has influenced public health and community empowerment, inspiring progress in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.

Nigeria Health Watch received an Excellence Award for its continuous informed advocacy and communication efforts to enhance better access to quality health care for all Nigerians.

Dr Wale Alabi, NHEA Project Director, noted that NHEA started in 2014, and has become a high-profile event in the healthcare industry, gaining wide acceptance from stakeholders in both the public and private sectors.

“The awards highlight the rapid growth of the healthcare sector, the transformative role of technology, and the ability of organizations and individuals to set new performance standards in Nigeria and beyond.

“The theme of this year’s event aligned with the country’s healthcare transformation agenda, spotlighting and recognising stakeholders, facilities, and organisations that have significantly contributed to the healthcare sector.

“With a decade of impactful existence, NHEA continues to elevate the standards of healthcare services,” he said.

Alabi highlighted the significance of the partnership with Nigeria Health Watch, acknowledging the critical role of journalists in epidemic preparedness and response.

“The ‘Prevent Epidemics Journalism Award’ honours outstanding reporting that raises the bar for healthcare journalism standards in the country,” he said.

Mrs Vivianne Ihekweazu, Managing Director of Nigeria Health Watch, explained that this year, Nigeria Health Watch partnered with NHEA to organise the ‘Special Prevent Epidemics Journalism Award.’

“This initiative, under the Prevent Epidemics Project with the support of the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), recognises outstanding journalism in health security or epidemic preparedness and response across Print, TV, and Radio categories.

“The award acknowledges journalists who have raised awareness among the public and policymakers about the importance of funding epidemic preparedness and response, inspiring them to continue their vital role in safeguarding the country’s health security,” she said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Advisory Board of NHEA, Mr Anthony Omolola, said the selection process included comprehensive evaluations by NHEA’s verification team, and over 52,000 online votes were received.

Omolola said the votes “underscored the competitive spirit and high standards” that define the NHEA, adding that the highlights for the 2024 edition include the introduction of new award categories reflecting our dynamic and evolving approach.

Omolola added that the award was in collaboration with Delloite, and it seeks to foster ongoing collaborations with winners and nominate post-events.

“These collaborations in various platforms will further enhance and deepen the work of our partners driving continued excellence in the healthcare and ecosystem,” he said.

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