The Voice of America’s African audience will have greater access to health information through the soon-to-be launched VOA Africa Health Network. BBG Governor Dana Perino announced the new initiative today during a speech before representatives of the Nigerian Government and the media in Abuja, Nigeria. She made her remarks at a town hall meeting sponsored by the Broadcasting Board of Governors and Radio France Internationale.
“The establishment of the VOA Africa Health Network reaffirms an American commitment to support healthy living in Africa and establishes a unified approach that reaches listeners with the best information possible,” said Perino. “The Africa Health Network will pull together the work of all ten language services broadcasting to Africa and coordinate with VOA’s International Media Training Center to organize journalists’ training and public meetings on key health issues.”
The VOA Africa Health Network will take advantage of new technologies spreading throughout Africa along with radio and television. Nigeria alone has more than 70 million mobile phones and more than 40 million Internet users. VOA will use these technologies to more effectively provide information to its urban and rural audiences in Nigeria and throughout all of Africa.
“We see this as a means of increasing our dialogue with Africans about health issues that affect them every day,” said VOA Executive Editor and Acting VOA Director Steve Redisch. “VOA has always broadcast health programs, but we are now setting a new course for health programming to the African Continent.”
VOA Africa Health Network programming will reflect the varied health concerns of all Africans. Periodically, VOA will hold Town Hall meetings to bring together government representatives, health experts, and private citizens for a public discussion of critical health issues.