Ecsa willing to support women health media projects


Part of the group working on the Seychelles proposals (photo by George Thande)

A team of four journalists were tasked to look at possible areas of health that need intervention, and were asked to use given guidelines to come up with a strategy on how identified problems may be tackled through Seychelles media.

They said this country’s health indicators and services are good, but cited the need to boost blood bank reserves in case many mothers delivered at the same time possibly exhausting stocks.

They noted while other patients may seek medical attention overseas, expectant mothers cannot fly to get babies elsewhere so a healthy blood reserve is a key need.

Seychellois George Thande, Malawian Chisomo Ngulube together with Zimbabweans Donald Mujiri and Paidamayo Chipuma also said teenage pregnancies and abortions are potential threats to girls who should be future rather than current mothers, and the problem needs to be addressed.

The team considered health services including family planning are readily available here and the media has wider reach than elsewhere on the continent, calling these strengths.

“Figures show deaths of mothers from pregnancy are already very low and the country’s population has universal access to health services but blood bank capacity seems doubtful,” wrote team leader Mrs Ngulube.

The team felt there may be a link between teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions to children under 15 being unable to access family planning without their parents.

“It is documented that many children are born out of wedlock and family break-ups are common which possibly causes difficulties in upbringing.”

They considered the local media may be overwhelmed by the number of programmes that compete for funds.

The team said Seychelles media is, nevertheless, willing to pick up and highlight issues and suggested a campaign involving radio, television and newspapers.

“We propose paid-for spots on television and sponsored features in newspapers whose immediate  impact may be gauged through phone-ins, e-mails or text messages.”

They proposed that media heads and health officials meet in a day-long workshop to brief them on the situation and work on their plans which should be presented to funding agencies, for example Ecsa.

“Success of the media programmes may be assessed through feedback from readers, listeners, viewers and if there are more articles on blood donation and a drop in teenage pregnancies together with an increase in blood donations,” they said.