The use of data and statistics is vital for a functioning data cycle, and media and public relations professionals are important actors in ensuring that data and statistics are used. Effective collaboration between statisticians and journalists is vital in ensuring that data and statistics are used by the media and eventually influence public discourse and policy making. For the first time, PARIS21, alongside partners Statistics Botswana and the WHO Botswana, has developed a communications training programme specifically targeting communicating health data and statistics.

Photo of a group of Botswanan journalists and statisticians in a meeting room

 

Tackling health challenges: daunting but possible

Health data is important to all citizens around the world, as the COVID-19 pandemic showed, health data and statistics inform people's daily lives and health policies have direct impacts on people. It is vital for the public to be kept informed, to be able to make the best choices for themselves and to be able to add their voices to public discourses. 

As a new UN report "Protect the Promise"  reveals that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing inequality and conflict around the world are putting the most vulnerable at risk, action to keep the public informed is key.

Open channels of communication

Over three days, 26 journalists and statisticians came together to learn about each others' work, and build trust and confidence. 

Statisticians from Statistics Botswana and WHO Botswana showed how journalists can access and utilise publicly available data and statistics as well as how to interpret these. Statistics Botswana also explained the role of the national statistics office as the custodian of quality national statistics. Media and public relations professionals helped statisticians to practice media interviews and understand the process of developing news stories in order for statisticians to better understand their needs.

Stronger partnerships for data

Participants rallied around the objective to produce and use better health data for better lives, many reported that they felt more empowered to use data and statistics in their stories and understood better the needs of the media.

Read the press release

https://www.mmegi.bw/news/statistics-botswana-hosts-health-data-communications-bootcamp/news?

 

Notes

1. Botswana is first country with severe HIV epidemic to reach key milestone in the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission | UNAIDS

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