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€100,000 of grants awarded to journalistic projects about global health security


€100,000 of grants awarded to journalistic projects about global health security

Picture of Marjan Tillmans
Marjan Tillmans — Project Manager
January 19, 2023

The Global Health Security Call is supporting 12 journalistic projects being delivered by freelancers.

In-depth media coverage of issues such as pandemic preparedness, health workforce strengthening, effective health workforce strengthening, effective disease surveillance, and equitable access to vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics is essential to keeping the topic of global health security on the public agenda and encouraging European governments to prioritise their funding commitments.

The 2023 Global Health Security Call is delivering grant funding and facilitating research opportunities to support in-depth journalistic analysis on the topic of global health security. Our team at the European Journalism Centre (EJC) is proud to support 12 grantees (individuals and teams of freelance journalists) that will publish solutions-focused, impactful stories across France, Germany, the UK and Italy.

“Diseases we became familiar with as foreign reporters are now found in our own backyard. It’s an urgent reminder of the many different impacts of climate change and how we treat the environment” — Sara Perria

Meet the awarded journalists and their stories

An impact solution for the prevention of waterborne diseases in Kenya — Sabrina Lorenz and Bob Koigi

The reportage, with a solutions-oriented approach, aims to reveal problems and potential solutions to a water-related project in Kenya. More than ten years ago the first indigenous Kenyan NGO carried out a Solar Water Disinfection campaign (SODIS) that targeted 20,000 households in the Kibera and Mukuru kwa Njenga slums. Our investigation explores if and how the health situation has improved for the slum dwellers since and if access to clean water has been maintained. How sustainable are community based projects like the SODIS in Kenya, and what would it take to sustainably implement such initiatives in other underserved areas?

Cholera Outbreak in Syria — The Return of the Blue Death — Bartholomäus Laffert and Sitara Ambrosio

As if the war alone were not enough, last year northern Syria experienced one of the largest cholera outbreaks in recent history. The reason: rivers dry up, there is less drinking water, people are forced to drink dirty water, and as a result fall ill with cholera — adequate medical care is scarce. What needs to be done to beat cholera?

Towards an AIDS-free generation?– Benjamin Breitegger

Botswana — a country with a high HIV burden — hit a milestone in the fight against the virus: The transmission rate from mothers to their children decreased from once 40 percent to below 1 percent. How has Botswana managed that, and what can be learned from its experience?

The Kissing Bug: in South America, a race to find every last case of Chagas disease — before it spreads — Catherine Davison

Known locally as “the kissing bug”, Chagas disease is one of the world’s most neglected diseases. Despite causing 12,000 deaths per year — mostly in poor, rural communities in South and Central America — there has been little sustained research into the illness. Now however, climate change and migration threaten to spread it to new regions, including the southern states of the U.S. This investigation will focus on Bolivia and Colombia, two of the highest burden countries, seeking to uncover how a One Health approach, community-based disease surveillance, and congenital screening can help to detect every last case of Chagas disease — before it can spread.

Cutting out fake and shoddy medicines in Nigeria — Christine Ro

No child should die because the cough syrup their families buy for them has been adulterated with dangerous chemicals. Yet that’s exactly what has happened recently in Gambia, India, Indonesia and Uzbekistan. It also used to happen in Nigeria, but the country is taking action on border checks, pharmacy education, technological tools, and domestic manufacturing, in the hope of eliminating fake and shoddy medicines.

Bangladesh’s Shasthya Shebika women — Peter Yeung

Only a few decades ago, Bangladesh was the poorest and most densely populated country in the world, home to an enormous rural population with little access to health care. Today, a cadre of 100,000 women have driven extraordinary health outcomes for the entire country. That revolution has been rooted in a gendered perspective to address sociocultural barriers.

Can blind Medical Tactile Examiners become a para-health force for early breast cancer detection in India? — Priti Salian

A new technique of “task-shifting” in breast cancer screening is emerging in India and other parts of the world. By employing blind women — who have better tactile acuity than their sighted peers — to examine the breast, medical facilities are able to give more time and obtain more accurate results on changes in the breast tissue. This story will investigate how this technique makes it possible to detect cancer in its early and more curable stages, and why it should be adopted globally.

Choking Africa — Tom Brown

This project uses satellite data to investigate gas flaring and identify communities vulnerable to the health impacts of oil and gas emissions. Algeria and Nigeria are among the top flaring countries in the world, burning off gas in a process that exposes local communities to chemicals linked with respiratory disease, cancer and leucemia.

Mental health in Lebanon: from taboo to national emergency — Sarah Andersen and Amandine Plougoulm

In recent years, Lebanon has been engulfed in a multifaceted crisis, which has fueled a surge in mental health disorders. While the subject was taboo for a long time, the Beirut explosion in 2020 has brought the issue to the forefront and demand for psychological services has skyrocketed, prompting communities, schools and individuals to take action.

The virus hunter — Julia Amberger

Julia Amberger will join African and European veterinarians into one of the world’s most remote rain forests: Dzanga-Sanga in the Central African Republic. Taking urine and blood tests of gorillas, studying bats and collaborating with hunters and doctors, they are looking for dangerous microorganisms before they jump species and cause the next pandemic.

A One Health Approach to AMR in Nepal — Laura Salm-Reiferscheidt and Nyani Quarmyne

Antimicrobial resistance — the evolved ability for pathogens to survive antibiotics and other treatments — has been described by WHO Director-General Tedros as threat that could “undo a century of medical progress.” In Nepal, as in many countries, the widespread misuse of antimicrobials in both human and veterinary contexts is resulting in a situation where drugs are becoming increasingly ineffective. This project explores the steps the country is taking to combat the problem with an integrated ‘One Health’ approach that recognises that the wellbeing of people, animals and environment must be seen as a whole.

Tackling the dangerous spread of the West Nile Virus — from Senegal to Italy — Sara Perria and Chiara Luxardo

The West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus sensitive to climate and environmental changes. It is rapidly expanding beyond its original geographic borders, posing a serious public and veterinary health concern on a global scale. Since the virus is carried mainly through infected migratory birds, the research for this project will focus on Senegal and Italy, visiting wetlands frequented by migrating birds and health facilities. The aim is to understand how a change in climate patterns, such as drought in Europe, are impacting the spread of mosquito-borne diseases and what kind of responses are being adopted.

“As the media industry still grapples with the elusive issue of a sustainable business model, reporting fees and assignments continue to be cut to the bone. It’s becoming tougher and tougher to carry out the most important kind of journalism: in-depth, public good reporting. Which is why grant funding, as provided by the likes of the European Journalism Centre, is becoming more and more vital.” — Peter Yeung


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