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Journalists Urged to Prioritize Covid-19 Stories amid Election Campaigns

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona has cautioned journalists on maintaining the zeal in reporting Covid-19 statistics, incidences and Ministry of Health updates amid the torrid election campaigns period.

Ainebyoona said that although there is excitement among people and they want to hear about aspirants’ manifestations as per the forthcoming 2021 elections, there is need to balance campaign information with the prevailing Covid-19 Pandemic reports.

“We need to strike a balance and know that there is a public health threat that is lingering around. Any newsworthy story will get coverage and a Covid-19 story will bounce back on top of the headlines,” Ainebyoona said.

“Apparently, there is a political fever, people are in campaigns and somehow the media has, unfortunately, been destructed from the public health angle which is covid-19. We are seeing an increase in the cases which has corporate responsibility. The media should ensure that their viewers, listeners, readers are safe,” he added.

Questioned on incidences where some Covid-19 results came in after the suspected victims’ bodies had been buried ‘normally’, Ainebyoona explained that some tests take longer and as such, the patient died before diagnosis reports came out.

“In some aspects, we also need more time. But due to the need for information, patience might lack, yet science requires thorough investigations and finally acquiring accurate information. For science, investigations need to be thorough to get accurate results for presentation to the responsible parties,” he added.

He explained that there are unique cases where, in the due course of testing of the samples, the person died and had to be handed over for burial.

This, he said, explains the Rubaga case, where the body was handed over for burial and when the sample results came through, they indicated Covid-19 positive.

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Ainebyoona further noted that the Ministry endeavours to bring the scientists to the media briefings so that more concepts as regards Covid-19 can be factually reviewed before the journalists dissect the information for public consumption.

“We present scientists to enable you know where you can get necessary information. However, this has not been happening as sometimes, scientists are complaining that they are not able to meet journalists,” he added.

Walter Mwesigye, a health reporter, said that although there is a knowledge gap between the scientists, the media and the end consumers- the public, covid-19 is still a new disease.

“Globally, everybody is trying to learn and understand more about this Pandemic, including the scientists who have much more knowledge than journalists who put writings on the paper,” he said.

He urged the Ministry of Health to provide information on a daily basis to fill the knowledge gap.

“We should not forget that there is a matter of life and death, which is the covid-19 pandemic. My appeal to the journalists is that they should focus more on covid-19,” Ainebyoona said.

The Ministry is targeting ways of orienting health reporters to understand the science, as there is a knowledge gap that has to be filled, according to the Ministry of Health.

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