In early October, 18 journalists from 11 African countries converged in Kampala, Uganda for DNDi’s first-ever training on health and science journalism. The three-day training was conducted on the sidelines of DNDi’s 11th Partners’ Meeting on 4 October 2018.
The objective of the health and science journalism workshop was to help reporters and editors better understand neglected diseases prevalent in the region and grasp the science behind efforts to develop new drugs for these diseases.
Mr Otula Owuor, a veteran Kenyan science journalist and trainer with the World Federation of Science Journalists, facilitated the training, which alternated presentations with interactive sessions. The journalists learned about neglected diseases directly from DNDi experts, including onchocerciasis (river blindness), mycetoma, human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and leishmaniasis, and neglected patient populations such as children living with HIV. Dr Nathalie Strub-Wourgaft, Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases at DNDi, helped to “demystify” the clinical trials process with an in-depth talk on the ins and outs of drug development.
The journalists visited the Joint Clinical Research Centre in Lubowa, a clinical trial site for DNDi’s LIVING study, underway in Kenya and Uganda to demonstrate the effectiveness, safety, and acceptability of child-adapted HIV therapy, the so-called “2-in-1” pellets containing lopinavir and ritonavir (LPV/r), which are designed for infants and young children. The visit helped to improve the journalists’ understanding of what takes place during a clinical trial and gave them the opportunity to ask questions of Ugandan clinical trial experts.
Equipped with new skills and understanding, the journalists are already developing stories about neglected diseases and patients in their countries, and about related research and development activities.
A selection of articles published by participants of the workshop:
- The Citizen [11 October 2018] “Children’s HIV drug formula developed”
- Ghana Web [11 October 2018] “More resources needed to fight against neglected tropical diseases – Health experts”
- Ghana Web [11 October 2018] “Pediatric HIV victims get attention”
- Daily Monitor [10 October 2018] “HIV-positive children to take soluble ARVs”
- The Star Tribune [8 October 2018] “Health organization celebrates 15 years fighting neglected diseases globally”
- New Business Ethiopia [3 October 2018] “New clinical trials for neglected diseases in eastern Africa in progress”