Country Director, MamaYe, Dr. Tunde Segun

Martins Ifijeh
In order to increase the quality of investigative journalism in Nigeria, the Country Director of Mamaye, Dr. Tunde Segun, has called on health reporters to publish evidence-based stories, as this would go a long way in causing the change needed to put the country’s health sector in the desired direction.

He said evidence-based reporting was capable of influencing government to achieve and deliver on its promises, especially in the health sector.

Segun who spoke during a four-day Mamaye Investigative Journalism Workshop on Maternal and Newborn Health, held in Kaduna recently, also called on the government and health bodies to use evidence in health budget planning, adding that this will guide government on how much fund should be allocated to the various areas of healthcare.

“The public sector has a problem using evidence for planning. it’s not enough to say we need 15 per cent allocated for health, it’s the evidence that counts, how much do we really need for immunisation, others. Oftentimes the politicians make promises without being sure the money promised is enough to achieve the purpose, and deliver on their commitment. This is why evidence-based planning can help,” he said.

“During the family planning summit in London 2012 Nigeria promised to allocate extra $8m to family planning commodities from 2012 to 2016, but the Ministry has revealed that only about $3m has so far been allocated to family planning since 2012,except for 4m in 2015.

“Nigeria keeps signing commitment, from Abuja declaration, to ‘Every Woman Every Child commitment,’ yet none has been fulfilled”, he said.

Meanwhile, at the end of the workshop, which was anchored by the Media Advisor to MamaYe, Mr. Olaide Shokunbi and the Communication Specialist of the organisation, Mr. Morooph Babaranti, a communique was issued, which included the need for more investigative journalism and its use to cause positive change, especially in the health sector.

According to the communique, journalists were advised to look beyond the ordinary and collaborate to do impactful investigative reports, and learn to use modern techniques in their work, as well as be patient as investigative journalism involves data collection, facts checking and ample time.

‘’Journalists should be dogged, resourceful and resilient in executing their constitutional responsibilities by looking beyond monetary gains because investigative reporting is public
service. Journalists should develop themselves intellectually and technically to sharpen their skills on investigative reporting,” the communique stated.