Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Devcoms' Immersion fellows

With the support of Ford Foundation, Development Communications Network conducted the orientation of the first batch of Immersion fellows for Devcoms’ Health Journalists’ Immersion Programme to Strengthen Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) in Nigeria, from Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd, February 2008. Fifteen journalists from the print, broadcast, and radio media attended the orientation. The training aimed at better equipping the fellows to work as a critical mass for reporting Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) issues.

Please read the following profiles and get to know our talented Immersion fellows better!


Ijeoma Popoola:
A senior correspondent for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mrs. Ijeoma Popoola has dedicated much of her career to health and environment coverage in the media. Since her graduation from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with a degree in Mass Communication in 1994, Popoola has worked with NAN in covering the health of Nigerian women and children. She believes that a participation in the fellowship for the Immersion Programme will enable her to inform Nigerians to take advantage of existing government facilities for maternal and child health to improve their healthcare and wellbeing.

Ijeoma Iheme:
Ijeoma Iheme’s diverse communications background has landed her positions as a reporter, communications officer, marketing manager, and press officer at various media organizations and companies around Nigeria. As a professional who is interested in issues pertaining to access to good water, sanitation issues, etc. and their relationship to maternal, newborn and child health, Iheme is dedicated to the Immersion Programme and the practical skills she will gain from her journalist training.

Sekinah T. Lawal:
Sekinah T. Lawal is a practising Senior Health Correspondent with the National Mirror Newspapers. In her daily reporting, she advocates for exclusive breastfeeding for newborns and raises awareness of the alarming statistics of the maternal and infant mortality rate in Nigeria. Since graduating from the Universiy of Lagos with a degree in Mass Communications in 1996, Lawal has been very passionate in her reportorial duties especially in the area of Health, hence the prompting to pursue her Masters in Public Health. Lawal believes that partaking in the Immersion Programme will be another opportunity to receive needed information about MNCH, and to have the tools to push for a better policy in terms of women and children issues through the pages of Nigeria’s newspapers.

Godwin Haruna:
Godwin Haruna is a deputy features editor and health editor with THISDAY Newspapers, where he has dedicated most of his time to covering stories on HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, unsafe abortion and other disease conditions. His journey to join journalism was a conscious one over time, and he derives pleasure in his ability to enlighten the public through his writing. This passion, he believes, is required for journalists to stem the spread of HIV and to force the hands of policy makers to take positive decisions on other disease conditions, especially maternal and child mortality in Nigeria.

Ukpai Oka Ezera:
Ukpai Ezera is a news correspondent at RHYTHM 93.7FM Lagos and reports on health, education and religion beats. He hopes to hone his investigative journalism skills during the Immersion Programme to articulate the views of the generality of the public on their healthcare expectations with a view to enrich government’s policy formulation process through his reportage. In addition, he plans to regularly reconcile the huge budgetary figures for the health sector and its impact on Nigeria’s citizen.

Fatimah Abdulkareem:
As Chief Editor and health reporter for the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), Fatimah Abdulkareem has dedicated 17 years to reporting health issues on broadcast and radio media, including her weekly radio and TV programme “You and Your Health” which covers issues relating to maternal, newborn and child health in Nigeria. Her favourite food is pounded yam and vegetable soup, while her hobbies include driving, meeting people and most importantly making a difference in people’s lives. As a journalist focusing on health issues, Abdulkareem believes that prevent HIV positive mothers from infecting the unborn is an area that needs to be focused on and reported on in the media, and she hopes to achieve this through the Immersion Programme.

Jennifer Igwe:
Jennifer Igew is a senior presenter, reporter and producer with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA 2 Channel 5) in Lagos. She reports on health, environmental and social issues. As a finalist under the Kaiser Family Foundation for the CNN/African Journalist of the Year awards for 2007 HIV/AIDS reporting, Igwe continues to deliver quality health reports on diverse health areas in Nigeria.

Iliya M. Kure:
Iliya Kure is a reporter with the federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria in Kaduna. A graduate from the University of Maiduguri with a BA (Hons) in Mass Communications, Kure reports on issues relating to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and polio vaccinations, among many others, during his time in Kaduna.

Olaiya Temitope Templer:
Olaiya Templer is an interned Reporter with the Guardian Newspaper and covers various beats including news, city file reports, special reports, human-angle stories and cover stories. He feels highly honoured to participate in the Immersion Programme as the programme offers the opportunity to break new ground in the field of investigative reporting and to sway public attention away from issues in politics or sports to the more timely developments in health issues to bring about policy development and implementation.

Abiose Adelaja:
Abiose Adelaja is a correspondent for National Daily Newspaper and anchors four pages of health and science section. A recent nominee for the Nieman Foundation Fellowship in Global Health Reporting at Harvard University, the Immersion programme offers Abiose the opportunity to network with researchers and journalists of like passion and to join in the alliance of pushing maternal, newborn and child health issues on top policy agenda.

Nonye Aghaji:
Nonye Aghaji is a health reporter with Vision FM (92.1FM) in Abuja, Nigeria. She has covered special reports on maternal and child health issues, including safe abortion and paediatric ART, and expects that the investigative skills she will acquire from the Immersion Programme will be very useful to her in doing research and fact finding for further informative stories on MNCH.

Chiamaka Bobby-Umeano:
Chiamaka Bobby-Umeano is a freelance journalist with a great interest in health and development issues. Over the years she has worked with several broadcast companies, including Minaj Broadcast International and Taraba Television, Jalingo, and attended professional trainings in investigative journalism, peace building, and gender mainstreaming to further build her capacity as a health journalist. It is her belief that the Immersion Programme will thus give her the experience to continue addressing issues affecting mothers and children in Nigeria.

C.A. Ugwuegbu:
Chinyereugo Ugwuegbu is an English graduate from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Over the past two years Ugwuegbu has worked as a broadcast journalist for Radio Nigeria Abuja National Station as a health reporter and a presenter. Her interest in the availability of information on MNCH and access to health care facilities in rural areas makes her an ideal candidate for the Immersion Programme

Vincent B. Danture:
Vincent Danture is a journalist with the News and Current Affairs Department of Gombe Media Corporation (GMC). He believes that as a journalist with training, responsibility, and the desire to live up to his social responsibility, his experience in covering programmes and events for the Immersion Programme will build his ability to write analysis and commentaries of MNCH that will ensure a multi-sectoral involvement.

Augustine Abutu Alex:
Augustine Alex is a science journalist with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) covering health, engineering, agriculture and other related issues. Alex has received multiple trainings from UNFPA News, World Bank, and the World Federation of Science Journalists, and he believes that the participation in the Immersion Programme will position him in good stead to critically analyze trends in the health sector and conduct objective research that would expose the shortfalls of MNCH policies and commit government to action.

Ibrahim A. Yusuf:
Ibrahim Yusuf currently works at The Nation newspaper as a correspondent attached to the Sunday title. Though he is a correspondent on the general beat, Yusuf has reported multiple health-related stories, including reproductive and public health issues over the past six years of his journalist career. His primary concern as a journalist in the Immersion Programme is to raise critical issues that concern public health above the din so as to create complete awareness and ultimately seek for means and ways of addressing such issues for the common good.

Appolonia O. Adeyemi:
Appolonia Adeyemi is a Senior Correspondent and Head for the health desk at NewAge, a publication of Century Media Limited. Her position places her in an editorial position to influence the publication of MNCH issues in health pages, feature pages and anywhere where it is relevant within NewAge. Having taken the decision to be part of the Immersion Programme, Adeyemi feels that the training she will receive will expose her to all aspects of MNCH, especially child growth and survival, of which she will put to good use to influence policies and bring about positive behaviour change geared towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Isaiah Abraham:
Isaiah Abraham is a journalist for New Nigerian Newspapers in Abuja. He schooled at the Ghana Institute of Journalism with a focus on Population Communication and Research in 1992, and has since worked at a variety of publications, including Daily Times of Nigeria, and has received such awards as the Nigerian Media Merit Award in 2000. He believes that participation in the Immersion Programme will add value to his professional practice, deepen his knowledge and experience through re-orientation of the mind to recognise issues relating to Maternal and Child Mortality and help to appreciate the danger they constitute.

Sani Shuaibu Malumfashi:
Sani Malumfashi is the center coordinator of the Voice of America VOA Hausa Health Initiative, Reproductive Health and Child Survival. Originally from Katsina, he has 29 years experience working as a journalist in Radio Nigeria and NTA Kaduna. His focus on child spacing and maternal health during his programs is a key reason that Malumfashi is an ideal candidate for the Immersion Programme.

Ebun Babalola:
Ebun Babaolola is a health correspondent with Vanguard Newspapers, where she has reported on health issues for the last three years. She believes that the Immersion Programme will have a positive effect on the face of the country and the people, especially in the area of maternal, newborn and child health, and is grateful to take part in the program.

Bakare Morayosola:
Morayosola Bakare is a journalist at the Life & Style desk of The News Magazine. She has undertaken various health stories, especially those related to maternal, newborn, and child health, and has represented her medium at several health conferences.

Asmau Musa Iliasu:
Asmua Iliasu works as a reporter at Freedom Radio to cover maternal mortality rate causes and how it can be addressed in Nigeria.

Eugene Agha:
Eugene Agha is a feature reporter working with ThisDay Newspapers. He has over 10 years of experience as a journalist in Nigeria, and believes that the immersion project will go a long way to improve the policy formulation and implementation in the area of maternal and child health in Nigeria.

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