The International Press Centre has called on newsmen to always fact-check before reporting while carrying out their duties.
Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director, IPC, Lagos, gave the advice in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State at a two-day training for Journalists in the South South on Investigative Health Care reporting.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training began on May 31.
Arogundade said this was imperative because when newsmen failed to do proper checking, there might be a failure of journalism.
He said the media capacity building programme, supported by the US Consulate General in Lagos, was to sharpen reporting skills as well as for practitioners to develop sustainable interest in investigative journalism.
He stressed that the need for investigation and fact-checking by journalists could not be over-emphasised as it served for governance reform, official accountability and public interest.
He added that it was also required in order to distinguish between facts and opinions.
Meanwhile, Dr. Martin Akpan, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Primary HealthCare Board, said investigative health care reporting gives the practitioner the audacious confidence to challenge long-held erroneous beliefs.
Akpan added that it allowed the practitioner to challenge myths and superstitions, which constituted strong barriers to effective health care delivery service.
He said today, the public was being fed with stories sated with half-truths and outright lies about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Akpan’s presentation was titled: “Challenges and Prospects of Primary Healthcare Development in Nigeria: The Akwa-Ibom Context and What The Media Need to Understand.”
He said: “It is only investigative journalists like you that can come to the people’s rescue by unearthing the truth and disseminating same to re-orientate the people on the right way to go.
“As the watchdogs of the society, you must be manifestly objective and must keep at bay the tempting toga of sensationalism in order not to mislead the public.”
Akpan said that health insurance scheme had become imperative and urgent for the states to key in.
He said the aim was to reduce out-of-pocket health spending from the current high level of almost 99 per cent to not less than 20 per cent.
He added that it was also to increase the risk-pooling from the current two per cent to seven per cent level to 75 per cent to 80 per cent.
Akpan said the stage was now set for the full implementation of the salutary policy of the Primary Health Care Under One Roof for the benefit of the Akwa Ibom people.
He noted that the bill on the establishment of the Social Health Insurance Scheme was receiving prime attention at the State House of Assembly.
He added: “With this development, it is crystal clear that the Ibom Health Insurance Agency of our dream will soon become a reality.
“And with it in place, healthcare would be greatly subsidised for Akwa-Ibom people in our march toward the attainment of UHC.”