As the current COVID-19 deaths in the country continue to rise, the media must work collectively through educational TV, radio and online programs including articles where patients who recovered from the virus will motivate the people not to lose hope.
Over 7000 patients have recovered from COVID-19 so far as confirmed by Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi, some of those people should work with the media in motivating the Nation, constant reporting about deaths without positive information might traumatise the people, weaken their immune system and place them in danger of being defeated by the virus.
Furthermore, it would be a good idea for the Ministry of Health to conduct online trainings for journalists on how to report about COVID-19, this is a pandemic that requires the highest level of professionalism, accuracy and in the best interest of the Nation.
As the situation stands, we are facing a challenge with the youth that continues to disregard advise from government to stay at home and by so doing, they are putting their parents some with underlying conditions at high risk, this means the media should intensify educational programs targeting the youth on preventive measures.
I am worried that as the media, we seem to disregard our fundamental role to educate the public on issues affecting their welfare including the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are only waiting to get news about the number of deaths.
The giant media houses with adequate resources should consider intensifying educational programs, even private companies should partner with media houses of their choice to support such programs, the priority now should be to save lives.
As a Nation, we are facing a serious challenge of losing senior citizens and one wonders how will this country survive without the elderly, that’s why I am worried about the conduct of the youth who are seen moving around in the various towns.
As mentioned, the media should play its role now, educating the public forms part of media duties, however, the Ministry of Health and the private sector should also play their roles in making sure that journalists are well trained on COVID-19 reporting. This training should include ethical conduct expected from journalists when reporting about the pandemic, we are facing a a crisis here that hit the world and our country unexpectedly, all key stakeholders should be capacitated.
In conclusion, it is of paramount importance to state that as a country, we are facing a war, the onus is upon each and every Liswati to prevent the spread of the virus, we have reported that the health system has collapsed, therefore, prevention is better than cure.
Lubombo Refferal Hospital