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WHO workshop trains media on NCD reporting

Training held in collaboration with JMI, Ministry of Health

By JT - Jan 12,2023 - Last updated at Jan 12,2023

Winners of the ‘Health Media Award 2022’ pose for a group photo during an award ceremony on Thursday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The World Health Organisation (WHO), in collaboration with the Jordan Media Institute (JMI) and the Ministry of Health, celebrated the "Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) and media" award ceremony on Thursday.

A three-day health media training was held from to November 3-5, bringing together 20 participants to improve the quality and quantity of media coverage on crucial NCD issues, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The training was followed by a competition for the best media coverage on NCDs and their risk factors. An awards ceremony was held at the WHO to acknowledge the efforts of the competition winners in raising awareness of NCDs in their respective fields, according to a statement issued by the WHO on Thursday.

Winners of the "Health Media Award 2022" are: Ruba Musharbash for social media, Kawthar Sawalha for the press, Othman Mashwreh for Radio and Lana Zidan for TV.

Non-communicable diseases account for 71 per cent of global deaths and 78 per cent of Jordanian deaths yearly. While the COVID-19 pandemic held global attention over the past two years, the threat of NCDs has continued to escalate.

NCDs, which include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases, now kill more people than infectious diseases, the UN agency said. 

Many policies and strategies exist to combat the rise of NCDs, which are well-known to health sector professionals and policymakers. However, public awareness of NCDs and their risk factors needs improvement, as NCDs are currently underreported and underestimated by the media, Petra reported. This can be achieved, to a large extent, through more effective communication and media coverage that uses simple, direct and context-specific language that people can relate to in their daily lives.

To address this problem, the WHO is leading a global project in cooperation with Bloomberg Philanthropies to better understand the issues surrounding public perceptions of NCDs through a global Gallup poll.

As part of this initiative, Jordan was selected to represent the Eastern Mediterranean Region, along with five other countries worldwide: the US, China, India, Colombia and Tanzania.

Key findings from the Gallup poll showed that the biggest challenges to leading a healthier life for people in Jordan were the lack of access to exercise facilities (21 per cent), the lack of money and high prices (15 per cent), and the addiction to smoking/second-hand smoking (3 per cent). 

Jordanian respondents listed “worries of becoming sick” as a top motivator for healthy living for those aged 55+, while “taking up sports” tops the list of younger Jordanians. 

The survey also revealed that Jordanian social media is the most common source of health-related information, followed by the internet, television and radio.

With more media experts than ever interested in public health since the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a window of opportunity to educate media personnel and ensure that they have the knowledge and tools to prevent unnecessary deaths in Jordan, the statement added.

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