Several journalists were on Sunday evening awarded for their health reporting at the annual Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Clare Forrester Media Awards.
Speaking at the ceremony, which was held at the Pegasus Hotel under the theme ‘Positively Transforming Health Through the Media in Guyana,’ PAHO/WHO Resident Representative William Adu-Krow acknowledged that the media play a vital role in educating the public about health issues.
“People can have as many opinions as they want but there can only be one fact. And that is the fact we always want to rely on the media persons to take out there,” he said.
He reflected on some of PAHO/WHO successes this year, including the passage of the landmark anti-tobacco legislation, the restart of the HPV vaccination campaign and the launch of the mass drug administration programme for filaria.
The objective of the awards is to recognise the hard work and commitment of journalists for reporting on health issues.
The entries were judged by a panel of five judges, including Dr Paloma Mohamed-Martin and Nelsonia Persaud-Budhram, of the University of Guyana, Dr Vasha Roopchand, and Deputy Programme Director of Communications at Caricom Volderine Hackett.
The categories were Best News Story (Print), Best News Feature/Article (Print), Best News Story (Television), Best News Feature/Documentary (Television), Best News Feature/Documentary (Radio), Best News Story (Online), Best News Feature/Article (Online). This year also saw new photojournalism categories.
The winner in the Best News Story (Print) category was Svetlana Marshall, while the winner in the Best News Feature (Print) category was Stabroek News’ Sharda Bacchus.
Kristen Macklingam, of HGPTV Nightly News, copped the Best News Story (Television) award, while Loreen Warde, of NCN, won the Best News Feature (Television) category and Capitol News’ Handel Duncan won for Best Broadcast News Feature.
Marshall also copped first place for Best Online News Story, while Guyana Chronicle’s Vishani Ragobeer was also awarded for Best Online News Feature.
Guyana Chronicle photographer Samuel Maughn was awarded for Best Feature (photojournalism), while the newspaper’s Chief Photographer Adrian Narine was awarded in the Best News (photojournalism) category.
The Guyana Chronicle also received the award for the most submissions.
A special prize was presented for the coverage of the mass drug administration campaign 2017 and the recipient was Ragobeer.
Mohamed-Martin, Chief Judge of the competition, said this year saw a total of 97 submission compared to 78 last year. “The judges were amazed by the continued excellent responses to the competition and by the quality of the entries submitted generally,” she said,
She also explained that changes are expected in the coming years to the way in which the competition is administered presently. “Simply because we have to get stricter with some of the things we are seeing,” she noted.