The Health Editor of Daily Trust newspapers, Ojoma Akor has won the Nigerian print category of the Merck Foundation ‘Stay at Home’ Media Recognition Awards.
The award was organized by Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in collaboration with the First Lady of Nigeria, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, the First Lady of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and other African first ladies.
The theme of the awards was ‘Raising Awareness on how to stay safe and keep physically and mentally healthy during coronavirus lockdown’ with the aim of separating facts from myths and misconceptions.
The foundation had in April called for entries from print, online, radio, and multimedia platforms from English, French, Arabic and Portuguese speaking African countries.
“The most creative and influential media work aiming to raise awareness and sensitizing communities about this alarming topic at a regular basis will be eligible to win these awards,” the foundation had said.
Other winners from Nigeria are Ekene Odigwe- Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (Coalcity FM), (Radio category), Aneta Felix of TV360 Nigeria, (Multi-Media category) and Ishioma Emi Mary–Ventures Africa, and Ebere Agozie–GFH News, first position, and Odimegwu Onwumere–The Nigerian Voice, second position (Online category).
Winners from Ghana are: Ama Tekyiwaa Agyeman from New Times Corporation (Print category) Albert Futukpor– Ghana News Agency, first position, and Lydia Kukua Asamoah–Ghana News Agency, second position (Online Category).
Grace Hammoah Asare– Media General, TV 3, first position, and Nana Yaw Gyimah Mensah–TV3 Network, and Wendy Laryea–TV3 Network, second position (Multimedia category).
.Dr Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation in a statement Friday announcing the winners said the foundation and First Ladies of Ghana and Nigeria celebrate the winners of the awards.
“I am very proud of our winners from Ghana and Nigeria who helped to educate the communities about COVID-19 through their exceptional work by frequently covering this topic in their respective countries. I have always believed that media can play a very important role in sensitizing people about sensitive issues such as coronavirus global pandemic. Big congratulations to all the winners”, she said.
She said the quality of work received was impressive, therefore, the Merck Foundation Media Awards Committee introduced a second and a third position and selected more than one winner, on some occasions, for each of the four categories from all the regions.
Each winner in the first position goes home with $500 and have been inducted into the Merck Foundation Alumni and one-year access to online educational training programme called “MasterClass”.
“The valuable contribution from the winners in sensitizing their respective communities about COVID-19 has encouraged us to additionally reward them all to become Merck Foundation Alumni and provide them with one-year access to an online educational training programme called “MasterClass”.
“The MasterClass is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet. This is to motivate passionate journalists to continue writing and advocating for social, economic, and health issues across their countries”, Dr. Rasha Kelej added.
The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, and aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. It is primarily focused on improving access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth.