Health journalists have been urged to focus their reporting on preventive health care, as more emphasis is currently placed on curative measures.
During the opening of a three day Health Journalism Convention in Kampala Wednesday, Health Practitioners observed that stories on health do not highlight enough on basic health including; public hygiene, sanitation or use of mosquito nets.
In his presentation, Dr.Lawrence Kaggwa – a Senior Consultant in Health systems, Clinical Services and Health Management argued that 80% of diseases in Uganda are preventable; however health information does not focus adequately on this area.
Dr. Kaggwa reasoned that to close existing gaps in disseminating health information, journalists should write innovative stories on preventive health care, if the public mind set and behaviour are to be changed.
Other speakers in the 3rd Annual Convention argued that preventive care has been neglected partly because a large portion of funding goes to mitigate specific diseases such as HIV/Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
Participants questioned why practices such as routine health inspections in homes that were effective in the past as a preventive approach, had ceased to be utilised.
It was also noted that critical areas of the health sector received negligible funding, yet if supported they could help in reducing the health burden on households.
In responding to some of these issues, Dr. Sam Okuonzi, a Health Economist and Member of Parliament, Vuura County told Uganda Radio Network in a separate interview that there should be a policy review to address these gaps.
Dr. Kaggwa further pointed out that by reporting more on preventive care – the media can inform policy makers and the general public on the best practices to avoid contracting some preventable diseases. He noted that the public should also be responsible of their health.
The convention brought together journalists from across the country to dialogue on current trends in the Health Sector including; diseases on the rise and how they can be managed by preventive health policies and actions.