Uganda: Setting a New Standard for Health Journalism in Africa
Knight International has made huge inroads in health coverage in Uganda. In 2.5 years, Knight Fellow Christopher Conte developed a vibrant community of journalists who now have the expertise to tackle tough health issues including the AIDS epidemic and health-care spending. As part of this effort, he revived a health-journalism association, turned it into a strong organization where he and other experts hold workshops, and handed over its operation to local journalists.
The association now produces an influential monthly newsletter that goes to 700 health-care professionals and journalists. He attracted new funding for the association from a wide range of sources including Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. This included funds for a Ugandan journalism fellow who worked side by side with him and kept the momentum going after Conte left.
He also worked with two leading dailies, The Monitor and New Vision, and a nationwide network of radio journalists to improve health coverage. As we mentioned above, a story on Uganda’s shoddy hospitals prompted the government to apply for — and receive — a $130 million loan from the World Bank.
In July 2010, Conte hosted a meeting of nine Knight Fellows based in Sub-Saharan Africa to share best practices and work together to build a network of regional health journalists. The goals: to share resources and collaborate on stories to improve coverage of health and poverty-related issues throughout the region.