At least 50 journalists have been trained on reporting about COVID-19 in a partnership between County Government of Nakuru and Kenya Union of Journalists- Nakuru chapter.
Nakuru County epidemiologists and virologists engaged the journalists in a three-day intensive training program at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital’s Administration Block boardroom.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui at a separate forum said the training would help the local journalists disseminate timely and accurate news about the novel coronavirus.
He said the media plays a critical role in educating masses, especially on public health measures, and empowering journalist was one of the sure ways of fighting the COVID-19.
“Social gatherings have been discouraged and the mass media is the only remaining source of up-to-date information,” he pointed out.
County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr Kariuki Gichuki added that social media platforms are flooded with fake news, hindering the fight due to misconceptions.
He said by journalists would make informed reporting by first understating what the virus and its epidemiology as the virus is not as dangerous as thought.
“The training has also equipped journalists with preventive precautionary measures while in the line of duty,” emphasized Dr Gichuki.
Chief Officer for Public Health Mr Samuel King’ori regretted that some countries in Asia and Europe were recording high infection and mortality rates due to the lack of factual information on the virus.
“We are reading crazy conspiracy theories on local social media platforms. It is now upon you to paint the true picture,” beseeched Mr King’ori.
The KUJ- Nakuru chapter Secretary-General Mr Kioko wa Kivandi said the forum has strengthened the local media and the County Government of Nakuru working relations.
Mr Kioko noted that having timely access to accurate information during times crisis will help fight fake news as well as provide public health measures.
K24 TV Reporter Mr Maina Wang’ombe urged the Health Department to offer psychotherapy services as journalists were becoming stressed out by the COVID-19 coverage.
He urged the Department of Health to avail peer-reviewed papers of COVID-19 to further inform news coverage.
The County Government of Nakuru has dedicated 0724 320 853 and 0722 337 018 for residents to report suspected cases to Nakuru County Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) medical team.