Ebere Agozie, a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria has emerged the winner of Merck Foundation “Stay at Home” awards to raise awareness on COVID-19.
Agozie became the winner of the online category in Nigeria with Ishioma Mary of Ventures while Odimegwu Onwumere of the Voice of Nigeria came second in that category.
In the television category, Aneta Felix became winner; Ekene Odigwe of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria was the winner for Radio category while Ojoma Akor of Daily Trust became winner in the print category.
Agozie who is the Head, Fact Check Desk at NAN, thanked the Merck Foundation for the award, saying “I am truly grateful for this award.
“It is encouraging to know that one’s efforts are recognised. This can only spur me on to work harder towards the upliftment of my society and humanity in general,’’ she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, in a statement said the foundation celebrated winners of the awards from Nigeria and Ghana.
The CEO said the award was done in partnership with First Lady of Nigeria, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari and First Lady of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo-Addo.
According to Kalej, the theme of the awards was ‘Raising Awareness on how to Stay Safe and Keep Physically and Mentally Healthy during Coronavirus Lockdown’ with the aim to separate facts from myths and misconceptions.
“I am very proud of our winners from Ghana and Nigeria who helped to educate the communities about COVID-19 through their exceptional work by frequently covering this topic in their respective countries.
“I have always believed that the media can play a very important role in sensitising people about sensitive issues such as coronavirus global pandemic. Big congratulations to all the winners.”
She said that the quality of work received was impressive; therefore, the Merck Foundation Media Awards Committee had introduced a second and a third position.
“The committee had introduced a second and third position and selected more than one winner, on some occasions, for each of the four categories from all the regions.
“The valuable contribution from the winners in sensitising their respective communities about COVID -19 has encouraged us to additionally reward them all.
“We have rewarded them to become Merck Foundation Alumni and provide them with one-year access to online educational training programme called “MasterClass”.
“The MasterClass is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet.
“This is to motivate passionate journalists to continue writing and advocating for social, economic and health issues across their countries”, Kelej added.
The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology.