The Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Chief Olusegun Runsewe, says there is need for compulsory insurance coverage for journalists considering the risks and threats they encounter in the line of duty.
Runsewe, represented by Mr Frank Meke, made the recommendation at a symposium organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), News Agency of Nigeria Chapel, Lagos, to mark the 2022 NAN NUJ Media Week. Runsewe, who was the Chief Guest of Honor at the programme, emphasised the importance of journalists in the society.
“The challenges of insecurity are also affecting the journalists.
“This is because security is also part of the welfare system they require in order to do their job; unsafe environment affects their state of mind.
“It is important for all journalists to have insurance coverage,’’ he said.
He encouraged the general public to support journalists in their struggle as they could not do it alone.
“Journalists need our support especially those in the field; NAN cannot do the advocacy alone,’’ he said.
Runsewe advised journalists to take good care of their health and go for regular checkups.
According to him, journalists go through stress in the cause of news coverage and production.
He condemned the attitude of suffering in silence and encouraged journalists to confide in one another about their problems.
“The problem with us is that we don’t like to share our problems; look for your friend you can confide in.
“If you have a problem just share it; you never know who can help you.
Also you need to know that you are not alone,’’ he advised.
NAN reports that the NAN NUJ Media Week 2022 started on Monday, Sept. 19 with a Walk. NAN NUJ Media Week 2022- Cultural Day Wednesday, Sept. 21 was marked as a Cultural Day to showcase the diverse rich cultures in Nigeria.
Members of staff from various ethnic groups displayed their traditional attire, cuisine and dance.
NAN NUJ Media Week 2022- Cultural Day Some of the dignitaries who attended the Public Symposium on Thursday included representatives from His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal Abisogun II, Oniru of Iruland, Lagos and Dr Patrick Korie, MD, SUNU Health Nigeria (Chairman of the occasion).
Others were two Guest Speakers – CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Nigeria Police Force Spokesman (represented) and Dr Samuel Aladejare, a Psychiatrist who is President, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba., Mr Bola Audu of Nestle Nigeria Plc and Dr Seyi Oyesola, Founder and CEO of Critical Care Consultants – A3Cs (who made a presentation at the event), among other dignitaries attended the programme.
The Nigeria Police Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has described the safety and security of journalists as crucial to the growth of any society.
Adejobi made the assertion on Thursday during a media week organised by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), News Agency of Nigeria Lagos Chapel.
The event had the theme: “Health and Security of Nigerian Journalists: Emerging Consideration”.
Adejobi was represented by the Pubic Relations Officer of Zone 2 Command of the Nigeria Police Force, SP Hauwa Idris-Adamu.
He advised journalists to prioritise their safety, saying that insecurity was a global challenge.
“Journalists should be security conscious, they should be vigilant and should not bring out their gadgets in an environment that is not safe.
“The need for safety and security of media professionals cannot be overemphasized.
“Everyone is advised to be conscious of his or her safety and security wherever and whenever.
“We all should pay attention to where we are, in whose presence we make and answer business calls, who we give custody of our wards; most importantly, we need to know who our neighbours are,” he said.
Adejobi urged journalists to have proper means of identification to distinguish themselves from non-professionals.
He called on journalists to exhibit professionalism.
“That is, knowing who to ask what, how and when to ask in case of non-media friendly environments, and while adopting espionage as a means.
” The police spokesman said that investigation was useful in journalism.
“Proper investigation into events will help to reduce, if not completely eradicate, fake news which is very inimical to the growth and development of our society.
“It is expected of media professionals to give exact, established and proper reports that are healthy for the targeted audience and capable of promoting the dignity of the profession.
” He said that journalists and the police should work together for the benefit of the nation.
Adejobi said that every citizen had a duty to police his or her environment as policing was the duty of all and sundry and should not be left to security agencies alone.
In his address of welcome, the Chairman of NUJ, NAN Lagos Chapel, Mr Yunus Yusuf, said that the purpose of the symposium was to discuss how the job of the journalists affected his mental health and security.
“Many journalists become witnesses to disasters, human sufferings and violent events at some points in their careers.
“Journalists are oftened burdened by mental stress created by the nature of their work.
“Stress and psychological trauma are major occupational risks for journalists,” Yusuf said.
According to him, journalists, as watchdogs of the society, write about problems of others but no one cares for them.
“During elections, journalists are attacked while politicians are protected by security agents.
Nobody protects journalists,” he said.
Yusuf added that journalists were harassed when they wrote stories unfavorable to some people or organisations.
The Managing Director of SUNU Health Nig. Ltd., Dr Patrick Korie, said that there was knowledge gap on the safety and health of journalists.
Korie urged journalists to make their health a priority.
“Take the issue of your health serious; a journalist who is not in good health cannot function well.
” He urged journalists to regularly undergo medical checkups.
The Sunu Group (Sunu Health and Sunu Assurance), on Friday donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) worth N15 million to Lagos State Government for the use of health workers at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Presenting the PPEs at the Lagos Medical Warehouse in Lekki, Kyari Bukar, Chairman of Sunu Group, said that the donation was for the frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.
Bukar said: "The frontline health workers are the one handling patients with COVID-19.
"Our frontline workers need the PPEs to protect themselves, and this is just as good as saving lives first," he said.
Also, Dr Patrick Korie, Managing Director of Sunu Health, said that the PPEs were meant for Lagos State and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
Korie said that Sunu Group decided to donate the equipment so that the frontline workers could be protected against COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are looking at the Pan African, and we intend to make the donation in African countries where we operate.
"We are here in Nigeria, and we are going to make this donation all over African country," he said.
Also, Mr Samuel Ogbodu, the Managing Director, Sunu Assurances, said what the group had done was to contribute its quota to the elimination of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Ogbodu said that elimination of the virus was not limited to Nigeria alone, but in all African countries where Sunu Group was operating.
"At this moment, the main need is the issue of protecting the frontline workers.
"We need to provide health insurance as they are moving around, and we also need to insure their vehicles," he said.
Receiving the PPEs on behalf of the state government, Mr Olajide Razak, the State Medical Warehouse Manager, thanked Sunu Group for the gesture.
A Health Management Organisation (HMO), Sunu Health, says that no healthcare provider has the right to deny a patient primary care after being paid capitation for such services.
The Managing Director of Sunu Health, which was formerly known as Managed Health Care, Mr Patrick Korie, made this assertion in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Lagos.
He said that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) stipulated that primary care was paid for through capitation on a monthly basis.
Capitation is a payment arrangement for health care service providers.
It involves payment of a set amount for each enrolled person assigned to them, per period of time, whether or not that person seeks care.
Korie spoke on the backdrop of complaints by some NHIS enrollees that they were refused treatment by health care providers on the grounds that their HMOs owe the hospitals.
Some enrollees, who claimed to be registered with Managed Health Care, now renamed Sunu Health, claimed that Gbagada General Hospital refused them treatment on the grounds that the HMO had not paid its outstanding claims.
The Managed Health Care boss, however, said that it did not owe Gbagada General Hospital.
“First, we do not owe General Hospital Gbagada any 2018 bill. If they claim we owe them, it will be appreciated if they bring evidence of the claim to our office for verification and payment if it is National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) claim and genuine.
“We at the HMO are always doing reconciliations with providers to ensure they are properly clarified on the issues of payment, as the NHIS scheme has a guideline for treatment and payment.
“That someone went to the hospital with his family and they were denied treatment and in another case declined giving them drugs for malaria is a very unfortunate incident as they are entitled to the treatments, which are primary care,’’ he said.
Korie said that primary care was paid for through capitation on monthly basis and its records showed that Gbagada General Hospital had been paid capitation to date.
The MD said that it would appreciate it if the patients brought the receipt of payment for services for Sunu Health to recover the money from the hospital.
“Please consult the NHIS operational guide for what is covered as primary care and the way the NHIS scheme works.
“We are not to pay for primary care to providers after paying them capitation. Such claims that are primary care are declined by the HMO according to NHIS guidelines.
“Providers document these as debts. This is the essence of the reconciliation. It is also wrong for the provider not to contact the HMO to seek codes to treat or refer patients who require secondary care,” he said.
Korie said that referral was a primary care activity which was also covered by capitation, adding that the hospital never contacted it for codes to treat or refer the patients.
He said that it would be appreciated if the enrollee brought reports of non-treatment by a provider formally to the HMO for further action.
NAN reports that Managed Health Care had changed its name officially to Sunu Health in 2019.
At the Gbagada General Hospital, a senior officer who did not want his name mentioned said that Managed Health Care had paid their capitation fees up to date.
He said that there was, however, issue of service fees that had yet to be paid, but the hospital had not for once denied any enrollee treatment.
The official said that the drugs that were not given to enrollees were the ones not captured under the NHIS scheme.
He said that the issue of service fees was an internal issue that would be resolved between the management of the hospital and Sunu Health.
According to him, there have been discussions toward reconciliation.
Edited by: Yinka Fadare/Oluwole Sogunle