A Health Reporter with THISDAY Newspapers, Martins Ifijeh, has emerged one of the three winners of the International Centre For Journalist 2016 Early Childhood Development Reporting Contest which was announced in Washington DC, United States of America, January 7th.
His winning piece, “Malnutrition: Raising Nigerian Children with Low IQ” according to a panel of international judges won the Best Report category of the contest, while a journalist from India, Priyanka Vora, won the Best Use of Data category with her story “Encephalitis killed children in Malkangiri,”. Sharon Barang’a, a reporter from Kenya won the Best Visual Category of the early childhood development contest which had entries from Asian, American and African countries.
Ifijeh’s story highlights how malnutrition, which affects more than 11 million Nigerian children, endangers the mental and physical health of an entire generation, and how it can negatively affect the economy and development of a country. He focused on a mother whose 14-month-old daughter could not sit or stand and was the size of a three-month-old due to poor nutrition. The story shows how early intervention with a special diet helped the little girl avoid developmental problems.
According to ICFJ organisers, the award recipients, whose stories emerged best in the three categories will have an all expense 10 days trip to Washington, D.C., and New York this spring, where they will receive a cash price and a study tour.
“They will also use the opportunity to share their experiences covering health and development, and meet with global health experts and journalists who focus on early childhood issues. While in New York, the award recipients also will attend the DART Center’s Institute on Early Childhood Experience and the Developing Brain,” the organisers stated.
ICFJ, which is in partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation seek to promote stories on early childhood development and the need for proper nutrition, especially within the first 1000 days, as this represents the critical period when children need proper nourishment, responsive care, learning opportunities and protection from disease, violence and stress.
Ifijeh is the current winner of the prestigious Nigeria Healthcare Media Excellence Award 2016 (Print category). He was described at the award presentation as a reporter whose health stories have impacted Nigeria’s health sector for good in the year under review (2015 to 2016).