Medical Journalists Association-Ghana (MJA-G) is a registered non-profit making organisation of medical practitioners from the various health specialties and journalists from Ghana and abroad. It was inaugurated on the 6th of December, 2015 at the University of Ghana Medical School, Korle-bu.
Health information is very essential in promoting the health of people and the public at large. Reporting on this information can potentially influence the behavior of clinicians and patients. Often, these messages are delivered by seasoned reporters or journalists who perform thoughtfully even in the face of breaking news and tight deadlines but all too frequently, the accuracy of what is conveyed by these journalists is questionable. This subsequently can be devastating to consumers.
Journalists sometimes ignore the complexities or fail to provide contextual public health information and hence convey inadequate or distorted messages. This can also be attributed to the fact that some journalists find it difficult to interpret and convey the nuanced results of clinical studies.
It is therefore imperative that Journalists become more knowledgeable about health conditions in order to embrace fully the role of delivering to the public accurate, complete and balanced health information. This desire led to the birth of MJA-G.
Our belief is that the primary responsibilities for improving health related journalism in Ghana lie with journalists, clinicians and researchers. Hoping to improve the health system in Ghana with additional skills, care, introspection and a change in priorities, medical journalism will be at the beck and call of all.
- To improve the quality and quantity of reporting on health issues in Ghana
- To advance professional development and raise the profile of health stories in the media
- To promote dialogue and understanding between journalists and experts
- To encourage journalism that fosters the best possible publi c health programs and policies
- To promote journalism that enables people in Ghana to make healthy choices whenit comes to health
- The Medical Journalists’ Organization was launched with the aim of providing an objective analysis of strengths and weaknesses of medical news appearing in the Ghanaian mainstream media. This is possibly by interpreting in depth, statistics associated with some health and medical research in the country, thus bridging the gaps that exist between the medical practitioners and the general public.
- The secondary aim is to increase the completeness of health stories and subsequently, health literacy among journalists and media consumers. There is little or no specialized training available for Ghanaian Journalists who are expected to interpret often impregnable statistics and health jargon. This will add to the knowledge and improve upon the way health or medical news is handled in the country.
- The organization also advocates for a conservative and careful approach to medical issues and reports. The main stream media are often the first source of from which the public, including health professionals, learn about medical advances. It should be noted that it’s crucial when dealing with health issues to avoid creating false hopes or panics to the most vulnerable in the society.
- The organization seek to serve as a gap in relaying researches done in the various research institutions to the general public in simple lay man languages or for the ordinary Ghanaian to understand. Most of the researches done in these institutions are kept on the shelves for a very long time without any form of publication. For instance, in year 2013, the School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences in one of their research discovered that palm oil on the Ghanaian market was highly mutagenic when unheated and further discovered that it could lead to shift and point mutations. The finding was published in the Journal of Food Sciences. The news was finally out in 2015, two years after the research was done. This clearly shows the gap that exists between the research institutions and the public. The organization therefore seeks to bridge that gap through our media outlets.
- The organization will also serve as a medical consult and agency to most media station to help in the delivery of health or medical news.
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