Health Journalism Tutorials

This series of tutorials is a key media advocacy tool developed under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Health Communication Component (HCC). HCC is specifically working to improve maternal and child health in Sindh, and is implemented by a consortium led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP). Developed by HHC’s consortium member, the Center for Communication Programs Pakistan (CCPP), these tutorials aim to inspire journalists to develop news stories around mother and child health issues.

Pakistan’s maternal and neonatal mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world. Nearly 260 women die during every 100,000 live births, while 69 in every 1,000 infants die during within the first year of their birth. Sindh’s maternal and neonatal mortality indicators are even poorer than the national averages: up to 350 mothers die during every 100,000 live births and 81 infants die during every 1,000 live births. These poor maternal and neonatal health outcomes are because of a range of both direct and indirect contributors, which critically include many non-obstetric factors also.

This series of tutorials were developed specifically for journalists in Pakistan who are interested in reporting on health, with a thematic emphasis on mother and child health. There are a total of 9, 1-hour standalone tutorials, divided along 9 topics. Each tutorial consists of 5 sequentially placed sections: Learning Outcomes, Pre-test, Lesson, Assessment Questions, and Take-Away Assignment.

The learning outcomes will clearly state to the learner the expected knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies, and habits of mind that are expected to acquire after the learning experience.

This will be followed by a short pre-test. The pre-test will cover material used in the tutorial and will help assess the learner’s level of learning and motivate the learner to start thinking about the learning (e.g. concepts, facts) that will be later addressed in the tutorial later.

The lesson, representing the core learning for each tutorial, will follow the pre-test. The mode of the lessons will be interactive and practice-led, and the learning will be presented in the form of succinct slides, each slide introducing and explaining a key idea or theme of the lesson.

The following are the topics and brief lesson descriptions for each tutorial:

Tutorial 1: Health issues in Pakistan, especially mother and child health. This lesson introduces the learner to Pakistan’s overall health status, outlining the country’s epidemiological trends and corresponding mortality rates, and discussing key health challenges in the country. The core focus of the lesson is maternal and child health, and nutrition.

Tutorial 2: The healthcare system in Pakistan. This lesson lays out the structure and process of Pakistan health system, including the key distinction between its federal and provincial authorities.

Tutorial 3: Using data and evidence for health journalism. This lesson helps the learner find, access and handle relevant health data, and offer ways to the learner on how to handle the data to develop stories and narratives based on the data.

Tutorial 4: Storytelling in health journalism. This lesson explains to the learner the importance of the personal story in health journalism, and how it can be incorporated to their practice. The emphasis of the lesson therefore will be to encourage the learner to move beyond conventional sources by looking at people for possible evidence and stories.

Tutorial 5: Using digital media in health journalism. This lesson identifies the distinction between traditional and digital media, and invites the learner to participate in social media platforms as a health journalist. The lesson will emphasize the need for an integrated approach for health journalists, where traditional and digital media are both used to complement each other.

Tutorial 6: Rights-based health journalism. This tutorial defines human rights and offers their main classifications, in order to develop a human rights-based approach that health journalists can practically apply in their work.

Tutorial 7: How to interview as a health journalist. This lesson offers a practical guide on how health journalist need to prepare for and conduct an interview, focusing particularly on speaking with women and children. The lesson will also discuss how interviewing varies according to the medium being used.

Tutorial 8: Ethics in health journalism. This lesson outlines the principles of ethics in journalism and how these offer a code of ethics for health journalists. The unique focus of the lesson is to help health journalists address ethical problems they typically face during their work

Tutorial 9: How to consider gender and social exclusion as health journalists. This lesson aims to alert the learner to how gender and social exclusion need to be considered in health journalism. It does so by explaining how gender and social exclusion determines health in Pakistan, and how journalists should therefore be sensitive to gender and social exclusion in health journalism. The lesson asks the learner to constantly consider some key questions around gender and social inclusion while developing stories, including on how to use images.

Disclaimer: These tutorials are made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of Center for Communication Programs Pakistan (CCPP) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.


Center for Communication Programs Pakistan is a sister organization of Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs based in Baltimore, Maryland and registered in Pakistan as a nongovernmental and nonprofit organization under the Societies Act XXI of 1860.
You can learn more about the worldwide network of Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs by visiting: CCP Worldwide Network