12 reporters shortlisted for excellence in health journalism awards

The Africa Media Network on Health has announced the names of 12 journalists from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia shortlisted for the Excellence in Health Journalism Awards 2019. The awards that are open to journalists in countries where the Africa Media Network on Health is active, seek to celebrate high quality health and to motivate the media in Africa to prioritise the reporting on health issues.

In a statement released last week, Prof Joachim Osur the Director of Regional Programmes Amref Health Africa which championed the creation of the Africa Media Network on Health, called the 12 finalists “extraordinary”. He said they “are all worthy of recognition for their tireless efforts in shaping health journalism towards the realisation of universal health coverage in Africa through media advocacy – quality and none sensational reporting.”

“They are essentially the best of the best,” he added.

Among the finalists is Ms Flavia Nassaka, a reporter for The Independent news magazine and alumni of ACME’s 2018 health reporting fellowship.

Nassaka’s investigative story titled “Face to Face with medicine smugglers of the DR Congo” is shortlisted in the online reporting category. The story uncovers the underworld of Ugandan government drugs sold illegally in private clinics and smuggled to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nassaka told ACME she is delighted that her investigation of a sensitive subject involving the collusion of government officials with smugglers has been recognised.

“I am humbled that the article was shortlisted especially considering the fact that the subject is considered ‘risky’ with talk of mafias being involved in the exporting of government drugs. I feel rewarded for taking that risk,” she said.

In early February Mr Solomon Serwanjja, a journalist at the Kampala-based NBS Television, was detained by the police for investigating the theft of government drugs. Serwanjja and journalists from the BBC were charged by the police for possessing classified drugs that the journalists say were obtained in the course of their investigation. They were released after questioning.

Nassaka’s shortlisted story was funded through ACME’s investigative journalism grant programme, which was made possible with funding from the United States Mission in Uganda.

Full list of shortlisted journalists:

Arthur Shikopo, Zambezi FM(Zambia)
Ruth Keiya, Radio Rahma (Kenya)
MacDonald Gondwe, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (Malawi)
Flavia Nasaka, the Independent Publications Limited (Uganda)
Samuel Okiror, The Guardian (Uganda)
Nancy Agutu, Radio Africa Group (Kenya)
Kenneth Simbaya, IPP Media/The Guardian (Tanzania)
Eunice Kilonzo, Nation Media Goup (Kenya)
Diana Kendi, Freelancer (Kenya)
Saida Swale, Royal Media services (Kenya)
Mercy Kandie, BBC (Kenya)
Eunice Omollo, Nation Media Group (Kenya)


Harriet Anena

Harriet Anena is ACME’s Special Projects Officer

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