Former intern wins African writing prize, beat contestants from 22 nations

The third edition of the much-celebrated Nigeria Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA) ended at the weekend with THISDAY Health Correspondent, Martins Ifijeh, winning the Healthcare Media Excellence 2016 award (Print category) for his passionate reportage on the advancement of healthcare in the country.

The award, which is in recognition of quality healthcare reportage from June 2015 to May 2016, and monitored in all national newspapers by Nigerians, had correspondents from Vanguard, BusinessDay and The Punch in the final selection phase of the category.

In his acceptance speech, Ifijeh dedicated the award to every Nigerian who had at one point or the other made efforts towards advancing the country’s healthcare, and to every Nigerian who believes that one day the country’s healthcare system will be the envy of the world.

The Nigeria Healthcare Excellence Award, often dubbed the Oscar awards of the Nigerian health sector, had in its third edition received over 1,670 nominations from 80 organisations and individuals across the country, with the most frequent candidates shortlisted for the final nominations in each of the 23 different categories.

Among other winners at the ceremony are Dangote Foundation, for Outstanding CSR Health Project of the Year; The Bridge Clinic, for IVF Service Provider of the Year; Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) for Tertiary Healthcare Provider of the Year; Diamond Bank Plc, for Healthcare Friendly Institution of the year; Mopson Pharmaceuticals Ltd, for Pharmaceutical Operation Excellence of the Year, TVC presenter, Habibat Basanya, for Healthcare Media Excellence Award, among several other winners.

The Chairman, Advisory Board of NHEA, Dr. Anthony Omolola, said the award was in recognition of persons and organisations who have done remarkably well in promoting quality healthcare in the country.

In a related development, a former THISDAY intern at the Enugu Bureau, and student of the prestigious Jackson School of Journalism (now known as Department of Mass Communication), University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Mr Linus Okechukwu Unah has emerged winner of the 2016 Rising Tide Foundation Essay Contest for African Undergraduates organised by the African Liberty Organisation for Development (ALOD).

Linus, 23, who hails from Ezza North in Ebonyi State, beat 22 contestants from different African countries to win the coveted prize and a scholarship programme at the St Paul University, Kenya.

A statement by the organisation on its website, said Unah won the George Ayittey (Platinum Prize) $1,000 and a scholarship to the Liberty and Entrepreneurship camp at St Paul University, Limiru, Kenya from July 14-17, 2016.”                                                        It went further to state that the criteria for marking the essays was based on evidence presented (30 per cent), analysis of the evidence (30 per cent), originality (15 per cent), grammar and style (15 per cent) and structure (10 per cent).

“All the prize winners scored 60 per cent or more showing a fair or better understanding of the theme and the score for the winner was 77 per cent. Students from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia made it through to the final 25 in the third round and we would like to congratulate them and thank all others who took part,” the statement said.

Founded in July 2013, ALOD is a non-profit and non-governmental-based organisation established to serve as a foremost think-tank organisation to enlighten Africans on the vast benefits of the free market economy, and encourage ideas towards the conformity to the principles of liberty as pivot for peace and prosperity and influence a positive future for Africa.

Linus is a final year student and former Editor in Chief of “The Record” newspaper, a publication of the department.

Also, he is currently the Associate Editor of Youth Journalism International (YJI), a non-profit media organisation based in Connecticut in the United States of America.