A two days workshop on Sexual Reproductive Health Reporting was held in Yaounde from September 28th to 29th 2022. An initiative spearheaded by Sisterspeak237 and the Canadian Embassy.
Reporting on sensitive topics like female health reproduction has being a hard task for many journalists over the years. That was the backbone of a workshop on Sexual Reproductive Health Reporting which aimed at creating a bond and possible collaboration between journalists and Doctors. The Society of Gynecologist and Obstetricians Cameroon, SOGOC, engages into a 6 months project of intense collaboration with journalists ; to facilitate access to information.
SOGOC and Sisterspeak237 are already working on the prodcution of a media guide on reproductive health and funding reproductive rights in Cameroon. Working with the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics FIGO an emphasis was also laid on abortions.
The organisation says 30% of pregnant women die yearly due to unsafe abortion. Global statistics has it that every two hours, a woman dies of complicated preganacy or an unsafe abortion. ‘’The media as society’s mirror must report on the circumstances surrounding abortions, make the people know that carrying a safe abortion is always a better option. This entails going to a medical center which has adequate equipments and a specialist ….safe abortion.’’
Cameroon’s law permits abortion under rape cases,incest or if the woman or girl’s life is threatened due to her pregnancy. Religious backgrounds bans abortions and portrays it as a dark eye piece in the society. Journalists then come into the scene to educate and sensitize the community on the Dos and Don’t of abortion, termed safe and unsafe, hence giving a possibility for the women and girls to fully enjoy their right to reproductive health, reducing maternal mortality rate.
It is important for Government Health Officials to address the barriers that impact equitable access to safe abortion and proper health care services. Facilitating access to information, Letting the girls and women know they have legal rights to essential abortion care.
Popular Opinion has it that the media scope in Cameroon reports less on sexual reproductive health. It is given little or no importance when reporting. A research carried by Mr.Nestor Njodzefe (communication officer and researcher) had a case study on two newspaper, notably The Post and Cameroon Tribune. He reported that, SRHR stories appear less on front pages and more at the back pages. This immediately portray the importance given to sexual reproductive health.
He adds that ” Most artilces published are essentially straight news which holds for 70%, Editorials are at 12%, Feature stories 10%, and Interviews are at 5%. Journalists conflict of Interest and access to information might be thereal challenges when reporting, hence the statistics”.