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Ten stories on global health that will impact media audiences in France

Project: How Failed Public Healthcare Systems Can Be Replaced, winner of a German Health Reporting Grant 2017, picture credit: Christian Nusch

The new French government has defined health as one of the five main areas of action in national development aid. Funding of NGOs working in these areas will double until 2022.* However, the activities of French organisations to improve health and healthcare in development countries have not been covered much by French media.

To increase the scope and depth of global health reporting in France, the European Journalism Centre has awarded 10 projects that will raise awareness of this under-reported topic.

The reportages featuring health topics will inform and engage the general public, influencers and decision makers in government, industry, and medical communities as well as the generation of “millennials”.

Reported from 14 different countries, the diverse audiences of at least 17 different media outlets in France will learn about new angles of global health issues regarding risks, lessons learned and potential solutions. Publications will range from large traditional media such as Le Monde, Le Figaro, Paris Match, to online media such as, Loopsider and The Conversation.

These are the projects that offer surprising or investigative approaches and unseen topics around global health:

Data Incognita

Cancer is a killer disease, especially in developing countries, where 70% of deaths caused by cancer result from the lack of prevention and access to healthcare, as well as limited knowledge of the nature and spread of the disease. Still, there are positive signs. 20 development countries have committed themselves to create national registers of cancer by 2020 - a measure that has only been partially implemented by France to date. It’s an epidemiologic lesson that gives food for thought to the French government.

Team: Viviane Thivent (journalist) @vaivethi, Julien Goldstein (photographer) @juliengoldstein
Locations: India, El Salvador, DR Congo
Media outlet: Le Monde
Budget: 20,000€

Dengvacia, a lethal vaccine in the Philippines?

In 2015, the French laboratory Sanofi launched a vaccine against dengue fever - a world premiere. But soon the safety of the vaccine was put to question by the suspicious deaths of several children in the Philippines. Sanofi has evaluated the results and admitted the potential dangers of the vaccine, while families claim they have been used as test subjects. However, this scandal could spark the development of better vaccines and safer practices regarding precaution and vaccination in developing countries.

Team: Carol Isoux (journalist) @carolisoux3, Agnès Dherbeys (photographer) @agnesdherbeys
Locations: Philippines, Thailand
Media outlets: L'Obs, Marie-Claire, Ouest-France, Europe 1, Loopsider
Budget: 16,760€

They have returned to fight Ebola

This is a story about two young Guineans who came to France to study and write their dissertations on microbiology and infectious diseases. In 2015, when Ebola was running rampant in West Africa, they volunteered for the French emergency aid organisation Eprus to help their compatriots in need - a life-changing experience. This article will tell the story of the re-integration in their home country, with the purpose of creating a workable, sustainable healthcare system. It’s an example that could encourage the repatriation to developing countries.

Team: Estelle Saget (journalist) @estellesaget, Alain Tendero (photographer/videographer)
Location: Guinea
Media outlets: The Conversation France, La Croix
Budget: 11,970€

Ebola - the elusive enemy

Two years after the end of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and with a new one in DRC, how much progress has been made in the development of new therapies? We will investigate the origins of the vaccines and drugs used today, their testing during the epidemics, and why these efforts are key to the world's biosecurity.

Team: Emmanuel Freudenthal (journalist) @EmmanuelFreuden, Chloé Hecketsweiler (journalist)
Locations: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia
Media outlets: Le Monde, IRIN
Budget: 15,790€

How 3D printing can make people walk again

Telemedicine is bringing new hopes to disabled people in developing countries whose rehabilitation is held back by lack of infrastructure and financial means. In Togo, Handicap International conducts a pilot project to reduce the costs of equipment and to help people who live in remote or dangerous areas.

Team: Elodie Bécu (reporter) @ElodieBecu, Jérôme Citron (co-reporter) @jeromecitro
Location: Togo
Media outlets: EBRA presse, CFDT Magazine
Budget: 7,410€

Early screening of sickle cell anaemia - the spearhead in the fight against the disease

Millions of people around the world are affected by sickle cell anaemia. However, the disease is rather unknown, difficult to detect and hardly treated in various countries in Western Africa. Four maternity hospitals in Burkina Faso launched a pilot project in 2015 for neonatal screening. This is the first project of its kind in Burkina Faso, where an estimated 2% of the population is diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia.

Team: Aurélie Franc (journalist) @AurelieFRANC, Camille Rioual @camrioual (video journalist)
Location: Burkina Faso
Media outlet: Le Figaro
Budget: 8,626€

An innovative approach to eradicate tuberculosis in Uganda

Tuberculosis rages in Uganda, one of the world's most affected countries by this disease. Tuberculosis is a lethal disease unless it is treated at an early stage. This year, researchers from the University of Bordeaux have launched TB-speed, a four-year programme aimed at screening children from remote areas for tuberculosis to detect it at an early stage and to compensate the healthcare deficits in the country’s infrastructure.

Team: Coralie Lemke @CoralieLemke (journalist)
Location: Uganda
Media outlet: L’Usine Nouvelle
Budget: 5,256€

Antibiotic resistance in India

Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to global health. It is especially the case in India, where it has a major impact on the local population. The country now shows one of the highest disease burden due to antibiotic resistance in the world. Inappropriate use of medicines by human and cattle, self-medication, unapproved drugs cocktails, poor water waste management in overpopulated urban areas,.. : there are many causes explaining the worrisome spread of antibiotic resistance in India, and this project will explore its complexity. The journalists will also explore how this problem could be effectively prevented through examples of successful experiments being led in the country.

Team: Lise Barnéoud @LiseBarneoud (journalist), Alice Bomboy @alicebomboy (journalist, photographer)
Location: India
Media outlet: Le Monde
Budget: 14,000€

Kufungisisa - when depression is a taboo

Only half of the 300 million people suffering from depression worldwide benefit from treatment, in some developing countries the number only reaches 10%. Particularly in Africa, a western and not always adequate approach to psychology has created a medical vacuum and a taboo around mental diseases. In Senegal and Zimbabwe, local initiatives are emerging which are better suited for the detection and which offer treatments better adapted to the economic, social and cultural context.

Team: Klervi Le Cozic @Klervi_LC (journalist), Elsa Dorey @ElsaDorey (journalist), Eugénie Baccot @EugenieBaccot(photographer)
Locations: Senegal, Zimbabwe
Media outlets: We Demain, Paris Match Afrique, Slate, L’Actualité Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Budget: 16,145€

How Africa organises its fight against diabetes

Diabetes is a silent killer in Africa, and fatality is rising. Through lack of information, screening and even medicine, patients die quickly. While international financing is more oriented towards transmitted diseases, some local actors are taking initiative. Telemedicine and health at work could be efficient measures.

Team: Stéphany Gardier (journalist), Olivier Prieur @Olivier_Prieur (director/cameraman)
Location: Ivory Coast
Media outlets: Le Figaro, Loopsider
Budget: 13,460€

Further readings

To stay up-to-date about the Journalism Grants activities and other EJC initiatives, sign up for one of our newsletters or read our other articles

How to write stories on development that people actually want to read

Cross-border journalism: The successful example of a German-Indian collaboration

How journalists are overcoming the challenges of global health reporting

Some common mistakes when applying for a journalism grant — and how to avoid them

* Source (in French): Le Monde, 8 February 2018

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