Raising political profile of Human Capital Development in the media

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As part of efforts towards achieving the overall goal of raising the political profile of Health Entitlements (HE) and Human Capital Development (HCD) in Nigeria, the Kano State-Led Accountability Mechanism (KanSLAM), with support of the UK government-funded Lafiya programme, this week, trained select Kano journalists on infusing HE and HCD in their reporting and programming

 

 

 

 

Nigeria has one of the worst Human Capital Development (HCD) indices in the world. This is a result of low per capita spending on key determinants of HCD such as public health, which is considered a foundation of human capital and economic development. Yet, Nigeria’s spending on health as a percentage of GDP had been on the decline in recent years.

Thus, there is a nexus between the quality of healthcare available and accessible to citizens – which is a direct result of the degree of investment in public health by the government – and a country’s sustainable human capital and economic development. Research has shown that for every dollar invested in the health of the people, there is a corresponding increase in their productivity in the range of between 20% and 30%.

On the other hand, the media is a veritable tool for raising the political profile of Human Capital Development (HCD). By creatively infusing issues around HCD and Health Entitlement (HE) in their day-to-day programming, journalists, presenters and On-Air-Personalities (OAPs) can play a crucial role in disseminating information on public health and human capital and consequently, influence the knowledge and health beliefs of the public.

It was in view of this, the Kano State-Led Accountability Mechanism (KanSLAM), with support from the Lafiya programme, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), this week, hosted a two-day capacity building session with select Kano media personnel from across diverse medias namely, radio, TV, print and online, on achieving better programming and reportage of Health Entitlement (HE) and Human Capital Development (HCD).

Nigeria’s HCD vision, which is strategically built around Health and Nutrition, Education and Labour Force, seeks to provide equitable access to affordable and quality healthcare for Nigerians, promote a quality and functional educational system, amongst others.

While speaking on Universal Health Coverage, (UHC) at the workshop, Aminu Sarki, a development communication expert, noted that UHC guarantees individuals access to the full spectrum of quality healthcare services, thus addressing the most significant causes of diseases and preventable deaths by ensuring that people are protected from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets.

“Investments in health will enable individuals to realize their potential as productive and fulfilled members of the society, which is key to ending extreme poverty and creating more inclusive societies,” Sarki said.

Note that the National Health Act (NHAct) 2014 is Nigeria’s guiding framework in its quest to attain UHC. The NHAct provides the legal framework for the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) which guarantees Nigerian citizens the right to a Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS). Citizens’ health entitlements under the BHPCF include general consultation with prescribed drugs from accredited healthcare facilities, primary care surgery, and laboratory investigations, amongst others.

While facilitating at the workshop, Nasiru Mu’azu, a media development expert said the workshop was aimed at equipping participant journalists with the necessary skills and information they needed to disseminate information on Human Capital Development (HCD) and Health entitlement (HE) to the public. He said media programming could be leveraged to enhance the government’s effort towards repositioning the health sector in the state.

“Kano Civil society organizations (CSOs) have been equally engaged on HCD and HE and the partnership between the media and CSOs will enhance a synergy between them towards developing appropriate messaging which will help the local populace acquire a better understanding on what HCD is all about as well as educate them on what their health entitlements are under the universal health scheme,’’ Muazu urged.

While speaking to Newspage, Abbas Ibrahim, chairman of the Kano chapter of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), who participated at a media-CSO parley on HCD and HE held in the aftermath of the capacity building workshop for journalists on HCD and HE, said: “As watchdogs of the society, we have a significant role to play in ensuring a good society and this workshop will further strengthen our capacity in ensuring that information dissemination on health and Human Capital Development (HCD) takes a better direction.’’

Ibrahim therefore enjoined the media to effectively discharge their duties of infusing human capital and health entitlements in their daily reporting so as to contribute their quota towards improved access to healthcare in the state, while also adhering to journalistic ethics and standards.

KanSLAM and Lafiya programme hopes the capacity building which had left the media personnel better informed about HE and HCD would subsequently lead to an enhanced attitudes and practices around HE and HCD in their daily programming and reporting. The participants are now expected to develop strategies for infusing HE and HCD issues in day-to-day programming and reporting.

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