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Learning to Report the Science of HIV/AIDS

07-04-2003 (Paris)
The use of ICTs to improve reporting on HIV/AIDS is one focus of a UNESCO-sponsored workshop for women journalists that opened in Kampala, Uganda, today. The training also focuses on how to cover the science of HIV/AIDS.
The five-day event brings together 15 women participants from African countries, who are professionally engaged in communicating HIV/AIDS information to the public through print, radio or electronic media.

“This workshop constitutes a new departure in terms of HIV media training”, notes Stella Hughes of UNESCO, “Most available training focuses on reporting the social and medical issues of HIV/AIDS but few journalists in countries hardest hit by AIDS are trained to access and handle the latest information on scientific developments”. The intention of UNESCO and co-organiser SciDev.Net, the Science Development Network, is to introduce health communicators to the various ways in which ICTs can help them to source and report on the latest scientific developments.

“It is hoped that an enhanced ability of health communicators to use ICTs will contribute to a better understanding of the nature of HIV infection and to increased awareness of the latest scientific results and their implications for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS” commented SciDev.Net director David Dickson. Another aim is to provide stronger counter arguments to those who question the relationship between HIV and AIDS.

Improved media reporting is expected to increase the awareness of the resources available through the Internet and elsewhere as well as awareness among the public and the political community of the importance of both basic research in immunology and other disciplines.

One of the key goals of the workshop, in addition to developing new skills among health communicators, will be to develop both training material and practical experience for holding similar workshops in other locations. Another workshop is scheduled to take place in Asia later this year.
Related themes/countries

      · Training of Media Professionals: News Archives 2003
      · Uganda: News Archives
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