In the spirit of Corporate Social Responsibility, Swiss health-care giant, Roche Products Limited has launched Nigeria’s first-ever Health Journalists Academy.

15 journalists from print, broadcast and new media have been chosen as the first beneficiaries of the Academy which was established in partnership with the School of Media and Communication (SMC) at the Pan-Atlantic University to provide top-notch reporting skills and bring increased awareness to health issues in Nigeria.

According to Roche’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Herman Addae:

“We are convinced that our duty as a responsible corporate citizen goes beyond manufacturing and selling medication and medical devices. We have therefore decided to explore a new way to improve healthcare delivery in Nigeria.”

“Recent studies indicate that Nigerians view good health as the absence of medical symptoms instead of a holistic reflection of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. This is typically demonstrated by late presentation of diseases and eventual high mortality from preventable deaths,” he added.

“Generally, there is poor public awareness about disease burdens in Nigeria. There is the need therefore to engage journalists; who are positioned by virtue of their professional calling to advance the cause of the nation’s health through their reportage and coverage of health sector,” Addae said.

The official launch of the Academy held at the Wheatbaker Hotel in Ikoyi and was attended by the Director of Health Planning at Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Ngozi Azodoh, who represented the Permanent Secretary, Mr Linus Awute.

Also in attendance were the Deputy Head of Mission and Acting Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Daniel Cavegn and the President of the Cancer Education and Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CEAFON), Professor Durosinmi-Etti among others.