A one-day workshop organized by the Ministry of Health and Medical Service (MHMS) for Media reporters was held last week in Honiara.

The workshop aims to provide relevant COVID-19 information to assist journalist in their reporting, raise awareness on MHMS procedures to release information and news and openly discuss certain areas that MHMS and the media could potentially work together to ensure timely, accurate and complete information are disseminated to the public.

In opening the workshop, Incident Controller and Under Secretary Health Improvement Dr. Nemia Bainivalu highlighted the important role media plays in providing information on COVID-19 and updates of health’s COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts to the public.

“The Ministry acknowledge the important role you play not only in the dissemination of COVID-19 presentative measures but also in keeping our people informed and updated on the Ministry’s COVID-19 operations. As such, we are delighted to host this workshop to provide you with relevant and necessary information on our operations, scope of responsibilities and relevant procedures to assist you when gathering information and reporting on COVID-19 related news.”

Dr. Bainivalu also explained that the workshop also provides the Ministry with an opportunity to learn about the challenges that reporters encounter when reporting on COVID-19 and receive feedback on the various media channels that the Ministry utilizes to disseminate COVID-19 news and information.

“This is important to enable us to effectively reflect on our existing external and risk communication strategies, procedures and timing for vetting COVID-19 related media releases and information and what needs to be done to improve timely and smooth flow of information to the public through the media,” said Dr. Bainivalu.

Attending the workshop were reporters from some of our main media outlets such as Solomon Star, Island Sun, Solomon Times, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation including a radio FM station, Zfm.

In his remarks at the closing, Priestley Habru, Island Sun Senior News Editor and member of the Media Association of Solomon Islands Advisory committee thanked the Ministry of Health on behalf of the President of the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) for holding such a workshop.

“The workshop had provided us with very useful background information which will greatly assist us when we continue to report on the COVID-19 pandemic and more especially with regards to health efforts,” stated Mr. Habru.

He also acknowledged the open dialogue session stating that at least by now, the Ministry can also be able to understand how we operate, the challenges, constraints and difficulties faced when trying to report on COVID-19 and the efforts of health in addressing this global pandemic.

“A very useful workshop indeed enabling both sides of the table to reflect on our experiences, interactions and better improve on how we move forward in providing important news and information to the public.”

Source: MHMS and MASI