The New Times health reporter, Irene V. Nambi yesterday outshined others at the annual health awards after scooping two prestigious awards in different categories.
The ceremony which was organized by the Ministry of Health aims at honouring journalists who show commitment and talent on gathering, disseminating and educating the public on different priority health issues.
Nambi scooped the awards in the categories of Health Reporter of the year, consistent reporting on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and acquired a certificate of excellence in print journalism. She also received a laptop, digital camera among others.
The Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Control Commission, Dr. Anita Asiimwe, was also awarded in the category of “media friendly person of 2009,” for her role in promoting access to information.
Other journalists that were recognized also include Imvaho Nshya’s Alexis Kapiteni and other journalists from the national television as well as Charlotte Karangwayire of La Nouvelle Relève among others.
While addressing guests at the ceremony, the Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera noted that the role of the media is very critical to the advancement of the health agenda.
He added that this year, the practitioners should endeavour to build from the foundation laid last year and do more.
“You have challenged us to do better in all sectors, especially health, and we request that you continue doing so. It is the role of the media to educate by loudly saying what is going well, pointing out what is wrong and should be improved.
“While we have registered success in various areas like immunization, we still need your help to promote maternal and child health,” Sezibera said.
The minister also commended the media for professionally handling health reporting on specific topics like the influenza A, H1N1 (swine flu) which hit the country in October last year.
“Thank you for helping us fight H1N1 last year. You did not panic like most media houses in other countries, but rather you handled the matter professionally by letting people know exactly what they need to do hence curbing the infection rate,” he added.
Journalists were mainly awarded for outstanding coverage on HIV, nutrition as well as hygiene and sanitation.