In the words of Zahra Namuli: "I’m happy that I have been able to change people’s perception about COVID-19”
Date: Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Zahra Namuli is a journalist reporting on health issues at NBS TV in Uganda. During a time when most people are quarantined at home, Namuli is one of the few remaining female journalists at the front line reporting about COVID -19 in Uganda. UN Women works to strengthen gender-sensitive reporting in countries around the world.
I am in a complicated situation. As a journalist, I take great personal risk by being out and about during the pandemic. As people confined to their homes clamor for information, I feel that it is my responsibility to help through my reporting. As the disease is still new, ministry officials and the medical teams struggle to explain and break down the information for the public. For reporting guidance, I read a lot about how other journalists elsewhere have covered the pandemic.
Journalists are also humans and just as afraid of contracting COVID-19 as anyone else. I dread the idea of spreading the disease to my colleagues or being quarantined for 14 days, and constantly remind myself to take precautions. Before I leave the house for an assignment, I identify the kind of preventive measures and gear I need— mask, gloves, disinfectant, etc. What kind of microphone do I need?
I am also afraid for my family. ALthough I sanitize my hands before touching anything when arriving home, I fear that I risk bringing back the. I’m especially afraid of infecting my elderly mother who is in the high-risk group.
In spite of the risks, I take pride in my work and I’m happy that I have been able to change people’s perception about COVID-19, and break the myths and misconceptions about the pandemic. The Ministry of Health cannot be in the fight against COVID-19 alone. They need journalists like me. Today, people can understand the urgency and why the Ministry wants them to stay home and wash their hands often.”