Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Kenya: Promote Better Health Coverage, Better Policies

The Kenya Alliance of Health and Science Reporters (KAHSR), a journalism association launched by Knight International Journalism Fellow Rachel Jones, now offers regular training workshops and resources on topics such as new vaccines, children’s health and agricultural research. The association is supported by a grant from the London-based Wellcome Trust. At Alliance workshops, journalists can interact with the country’s leading medical researchers and scientists.

Jones also helped editors and reporters to produce high-quality health reports in leading Kenyan newspapers and magazines, such as the influential East African, the Daily Nation and The Star. The East African ran a special eight-page section on pneumonia, with Jones’ guidance.

Health experts credited media coverage of the new vaccine with boosting turnout in a children’s vaccination campaign. Pneumonia claims the lives of an estimated 30,000 youngsters in Kenya each year. Jones and KAHSR have been asked to lead health training programs sponsored by the World Health Organization, Save the Children UK and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. These trainings are building a strong reputation for the organization.

Our Stories


  • Nov 302010

    Kenya Journalists Gather for Launch of New Health Reporting Association

    If you had told me six months ago that trying to start a new journalism organization in Kenya would consume my every waking moment—and half my sleeping ones—I’d have chortled. I’d have accused you of excessive melodrama. I’d have told you to “talk to the hand.”

    After all, I'd helped set up a radio training workshop in Gulu, Uganda, a scant year after peace had been declared. I had stood toe-to-toe with abusive contractors and sexist station owners who’d refused to even acknowledge my existence.

  • Oct 232010

    Scientists and Journalists Working Together

    Editors Blog: Knight Fellow Rachel Jones emphasizes the importance of scientists and journalists working together.

    How many researchers does it take to switch on the "lightbulb" of insight about the benefits of learning to talk to reporters?

    About 20. And it really helps when one of them is the lead researcher on the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Impact Study (PCVIS), Dr. Anthony Scott.

  • Oct 232010

    With the Push of a Button, A New Era Begins

    Editors Note: Knight Fellow Rachel Jones talks about the new possibilities after receiving more than $43,000 for a new Health and Science Writers' Association.When I pushed the button on an email application for a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement grant back in late April, I was thinking a lot about the direction my Knight Health Fellowship would take in the months to come.

  • Sep 212010

    Measuring Impact

    I’m thinking a lot about the definition of the word “impact” these days. When I reflect on my past two years in Kenya, the meaning might seem clear at first.

    “Just what the heck is different about Kenyan media since my plane touched down in late June 2008?" Wow, that question almost felt egomaniacal as I typed it! How can one person expect to exert enough influence to quantify a tangible impact on an entire country’s media? In one year, or two….or 10, for that matter?

  • Sep 112010

    CONVERGING IMPACT: NTV and Daily Nation join forces on health policy coverage

    If this looks like a tightly cropped shot, it really isn't. The actual room where this scene took place was only about a 10 by 8 foot space tucked away in a back office at Webuye Hospital, Bungoma District, about two hours from Kisumu, Kenya.

    This setting mirrors hundreds of hospitals and clinics in Western Kenya, where every day, thousands of children develop severe symptoms of diarrheal disease. It happens because they live in villages and towns where there’s scarce access to clean water.


  • Knight Fellow Rachel Jones tells ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan about helping Kenyan journalists track government spending on health services.