The Health Journalism Network, with financial support from the Wellcome Trust, is bringing five journalism fellows to COP28 in Dubai (November 30 to December 12) to facilitate access to scientists and experts working at the intersection of climate and health. The fellows are media professionals from Latin America, Africa and Asia, whose media stories collected at COP28 will connect the dots between climate and health, raising the profile of One Health and its impact on their communities. The HJN is thrilled to be collaborating with the Wellcome Trust and looks forward to sharing more about this exciting partnership. Below are the journalists traveling to COP28, alongside Megan Miller, Internews Health Director, and Ida Jooste, Internews Senior Health Media Adviser.
HELLEN SHIKANDA, KENYA
Hellen Shikanda specializes in producing multimedia content on health and science for the Nation Media Group. She is an alumna of the Bettina Fund Mentorship Program, the Oxford Climate Journalism Network, the Africa Resilience Network and the Africa Academy of Open-Source Investigation. She has received multiple international fellowships and media awards. She is a finalist for the Covering Climate Now Awards and an IGAD Media Awards winner.
I started out as a health reporter and later merged my health beat to that on environment and climate change. I knew that the two are inseparable as health is the human face of climate change. I’m elated to be one of the fellows on Climate and Health for Internews’ Health Journalism Network. I am excited to bring to the fore the need for having Health discussions when climate change is on the table. This opportunity will help me interact with stakeholders in the two fields and enable me to be the voice of my people who have not had an opportunity to attend the COP where there will be a first Health Day. Thank you to Internews for this immeasurable opportunity.
SUSHANTA KUMAR SINHA, BANGLADESH
Sushanta is a special correspondent with Ekattor Television in Bangladesh. He is an investigative reporter who has produced multiple award-winning stories on financial misconduct and stories about tax fraud by tobacco corporations in his country. He has received prestigious grants and fellowships for his work on tobacco control and climate impact on human health. Shushanta is the author of a textbook on broadcast journalism that is being used in Bangladeshi universities.
This opportunity will bring a lot by knowing the global climate crisis and concerns with other fellow colleagues at COP28. We should do and must work on health hazards that happened because of climate change issues.
CHEMTAI KIRUI, KENYA
Chemtai reports on the intersection of health and climate. As a multi-skilled TV, Radio, and Digital journalist at Kass Media Group, Chemtai produces and hosts a weekly health program on television, and contributes bi-weekly articles to Kass Digital. With a passion for grassroots reporting, she adeptly leverages the power of filming, photography, and video to turn complex reports into accessible narratives. Chemtai brings attention to critical health and climate issues, while fostering understanding and actionable solutions.
As a health and climate journalist, witnessing the direct impact of climate change on Kenya’s communities—from droughts to floods, fluctuations in temperature resulting in diseases, and the rising and drying of lake levels—I’ve seen how these challenges affect the mental, physical, and environmental well-being, particularly in the Rift Valley region, where our primary audience resides. COP28 isn’t just a conference; it’s a platform where I can share a piece of good news with my audience. It’s an opportunity to show them that their struggles are not theirs alone, that a collective effort is underway to address local problems. I am truly grateful to Internews Health for this invaluable opportunity, allowing me to be on the ground, interacting with policy changers, news makers, and community champions.
ALBERTO ÑIQUEN GUERRA, PERU
Alberto is a freelance citizen journalist specialized in environment, climate change and indigenous people. He was awarded the National Environmental Journalism Award in Peru. Alberto writes for Periodistas por el Planeta, Diálogo Chino, Colmena LAB, LatinClima, Inforegión and La Mula. He has covered COPs on climate change and biodiversity, and is a member of The Climate Reality Leadership, Parents for Future Latam, and Global. He has been a journalism fellow with the Earth Journalism Network, Internews and LatinClima.
The effects of climate change have reached our lives, so covering the negotiations at COP28 is a challenge. But also an opportunity: to include health in the negotiations and debate. Health is a central element when making decisions about climate change. I am very excited to be at COP28.
ANA CAROLINA AMARAL
Specialist writer for Folha de S. Paulo, Executive member of the Brazilian Environmental Journalism Network, and journalism fellow at Internews and Wellcome Trust. She received an MSc in Holistic Science from Schumacher College in Devon, England.
The important thing is to connect the dots. I started to cover COPS for the same reason why we are now focusing on the nexus between climate and health – there are connections between climate (the health of the natural system) and human health. It is clear when I visit places where there are challenges related to climate (both the consequences and the root cause, fossil fuels) that people are feeling these impacts. We journalists need to tell these stories, and specifically, step from the global discussion into the territories where people are affected most.