MoH engages media stakeholders in town hall meeting


By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

On Monday, June 24, 2024, the Ministry of Health (MoH) hosted a town hall meeting with media stakeholders at the Family Kingdom Hall, facilitated by its Communications Unit.

The meeting aimed to ensure that all Sierra Leoneans receive the necessary healthcare and to strengthen the relationship between the Ministry and the media.

Minister of Health, Dr. Austin Demby emphasized the collaborative role of the media in reflecting the Ministry’s efforts. “We are in this together with honesty and listening ears,” he stated. Dr. Demby highlighted his commitment to serving the nation and underscored the critical role of the health sector in national transformation.

He stressed the importance of universal health coverage and the Ministry’s goal to reduce child mortality rates, despite the challenge of having only 500 doctors for 8 million people.

Dr. Demby also announced government investments in secondary and tertiary health sectors, along with the provision of renewable energy and boreholes to over 200 Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) across the country. He urged for accountability and proper patient care, warning against the detrimental effects of misinformation.

The meeting included participatory sessions, debates between media stakeholders and practicing journalists, and remarks from key media figures.

Ahmed Nasrallah, President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), thanked the MoH for fostering a positive relationship with the media, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He called for greater access to information for traditional journalists, criticizing the preferential treatment of politically affiliated bloggers who might spread fake news. Nasrallah advocated for transparency, community service, capacity building, and awards for dedicated journalists.

IMC Chairman Joseph E. Kapuwa emphasized the importance of a robust partnership between the MoH and the media, stressing media ethics and constructive dialogue. He expressed optimism about their collective ability to make significant progress.

WIMSAL President Jestina Taylor highlighted the need for more women in health journalism, noting that female journalists are natural caregivers and play a crucial role in simplifying complex health issues. She shared her extensive experience in health reporting and the importance of in-depth coverage.

Minister of Information and Civic Education, Chernor Bah, acknowledged the ongoing developments and challenges in the health sector. He emphasized the role of the media in bridging the trust deficit between government officials and the public and urged journalists to resist sensationalism.

 Bah highlighted the necessity of strong partnerships for the well-being of every Sierra Leonean.

The town hall meeting concluded with a shared commitment to improving health communication and services through collaborative efforts between the MoH and the media.


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