The Ministry of Health, through its Media4Life Project, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with four major media houses in the country, including Nation Publications Limited (NPL).
The project—which seeks to increase dissemination of health information—has also roped in Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and Times Group.
Speaking during the signing ceremony held in Lilongwe yesterday, Minister of Health Jean Kalilani said the ministry takes the media seriously; hence, the partnership.
Said Kalirani: “We consider the media as a ground for generating debate and assessing public opinion on various policies on health.
“We, therefore, believe that this relationship is going to translate into responsive and improved health service delivery to the general public.”
Under the MoU, the ministry has committed to provide information to the media houses, build capacity of journalists in health reporting and support them with equipment.
On their part, media houses will increase reporting on health related issues and facilitate training of their journalists.
Speaking at the event, NPL chief executive officer Mbumba Banda said the signing of the MoU made her feel both a sense of humility and pride.
Said Banda: “I am humbled because of the enormous task that has been bestowed on NPL and proud because the MoU is the recognition of the important work the media is doing.”
She said the MoU is a continuation of the existing relationship between the ministry and her organisation.
“Last year, NPL and strategic partners donated medical equipment and supplies worth K33.7 million to Mangochi District Hospital and its satellite health centres in a project called Mother’s Fun Run.
“This year, NPL and its partners will raise funds for Mchinji District Hospital and its health centres,” she said.
Last year, NPL and the ministry worked together in disseminating information to people on Ebola, she added.
Director of health office for Usaid Malawi, Peter Halpert, has pledged more support to the ministry and the media through SSDI-Communications. n