This group trip is open only to applications from new media journalists, including media professionals, bloggers, influential social media practitioners and freelance contributors, who are citizens of the following nations: France, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States.
The focus of the trip will be on immunizations and child health in Ghana, particularly in light of the upcoming decisions to be made by the global community on replenishing the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) as it begins a new cycle for 2016 to 2020. GAVI is on track to immunize fully 243 million children in 73 countries by the end of 2015.
Ghana has made great progress in improving health care for its 25 million citizens. A healthy and growing economy, with one of Africa’s highest annual GDP growth rates, has enabled the government in Accra to improve living conditions in many parts of the country.
In 2012, Ghana became the first African country to introduce pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines at the same time to simultaneously tackle the leading causes of the world’s two biggest childhood killers, pneumonia and diarrhea. As of that year, these two diseases together accounted for approximately 20% of Ghana’s under-five child mortality.
Yet challenges remain, particularly in smaller cities and rural areas where health care delivery is still difficult. At a time when many countries are examining their use of GAVI funds for immunization and their own commitments to funding worldwide immunization efforts, the case of Ghana presents a unique window to many of the issues being discussed in global forums.
The IRP trip will look at immunization efforts in Ghana in the larger context of maternal and child health, nutrition, women’s empowerment, governance and access to health care in rural and remote areas. Participants in the trip will meet with key government leaders, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, members of the business community, religious and media leaders and others.
All candidates must complete an application form and provide a detailed essay of at least 800 words describing the types of stories they might pursue during the Ghana trip.
The IRP will purchase the Fellows’ roundtrip air tickets to Ghana and will pay for visas, hotel costs, many meals and local transportation. Fellows who wish to extend their stay after the fellowship will have the option to arrange that at their own expense.
Participants will be expected to post frequent stories – including blog posts, slideshows, social media posts, video and audio clips – before, during and after the trip. All Fellows on the Ghana trip are required to participate in the sessions arranged for the group program. Some independent reporting time will be included in the schedule.
All of the stories will be republished on the IRP site and co-owned by the Fellow (or her/his distribution partners, depending on arrangements) and the IRP. In addition, the work produced as a result of the trip may be posted, with permission of the Fellow, on the social media channels of the IRP funders. This trip is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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