Feb 62014

To Cover Health Effectively, Journalists Must Look at the Big Picture

When a new health initiative is announced, journalists too often think they have an easy story to tell. They can quote officials on what the project will do and how quickly they expect it to eradicate a disease or improve the health of the people.

But if reporters think they are telling the whole story, they need to think again. These initiatives do not exist in isolation. Placing the new plan in context, and especially explaining where it fits within the overall health system, is critical to informing the public.


Knight International Journalism Fellow Declan Okpalaeke launched the African Health Journalists Association, the first organization of its kind for reporters across the continent.


Knight International Journalism Fellow Declan Okpalaeke is leading the launch of Africa's first Pan-African health journalists’ organization, the African Health Journalists Association. He is a three-time winner of CNN’s African Journalist of the Year Award for his coverage of health, science and environment, and sports stories in Nigeria.

Nigeria: Increasing Citizen Engagement With Health News

Babatunde Akpeji is expanding his vibrant citizen journalist network in the Niger Delta.

“Hala Nigeria: Many Voices, Better Lives,” an unprecedented project that brings together five Knight International Journalism Fellows to pool their expertise, will increase public engagement and amplify citizen voices in health news in Africa’s most populous country.

The project, which means “Speak Out, Nigeria,” is using new digital tools to spur citizen engagement and promote data-driven reporting to take advantage of Nigeria’s new open data movement.

Nigeria: Giving Citizens in the Niger Delta a Voice on Health Issues

Babatunde Akpeji is a Knight International Journalism Fellow who is building a network of citizen journalists to cover health in Nigeria’s Delta region, an area rich in resources but wracked by severe poverty.

Mar 222012

Health Journalists in Nigeria Take On the Sensitive Topic of Epilepsy

Health journalists at the office of This Day newspaper in Lagos have never published a health section before. But they have now, under the guiding eye of Knight International Journalism Fellow Declan Okpalaeke. In the first edition: a gripping story about epilepsy that pits a medical diagnosis against faith-based treatment options.

Nigeria lassa fever

In an Abuja hospital, people wait to hear if relatives had contracted the deadly disease.

Nigeria lassa fever rat

Lassa fever is spread through rat urine or droppings. Dried particles easily become airborne, and infect humans who inhale them.

Nigeria lassa fever

Medical workers test rats, who spread lassa fever, for the evidence of the disease.

Nigeria lassa fever

Checking for lassa fever: The virus was first discovered in 1969 when two nurses in Nigeria died from it.