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PD science journalist Malemba wins SOJO awards

Thursday, December 14th, 2023 03:35 | By
People Daily Newspaper science journalist Malemba Mkongo. PHOTO/Print
People Daily Newspaper science journalist Malemba Mkongo. PHOTO/Print

People Daily Newspaper science journalist Malemba Mkongo emerged the overall winner of the prestigious Solution Based Journalism Awards (SOJO Awards).

The ceremony that happened on Monday was organised by the Right Here, Right Now Coalition, sought to honour impactful Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) stories in Kenya.

“I am truly honoured to receive this award, not just for myself but for the voices that often go unheard. This award is not just a recognition of my work but a testament to the importance of shedding light on the challenges faced by the queer community in accessing healthcare,” said Malemba.

Malemba (pictured), a seasoned science journalist known for her in-depth reporting, had delved into a compelling narrative that explored the challenges faced by the queer community in accessing quality health services in Kenya.

Insightful solutions

Her story not only shed light on the hurdles but also provided insightful solutions from policy changes to community-based initiatives, all aimed at dismantling the barriers faced by the queer community earning her the top spot in the Solution Based Journalism award.

According to the story though the Kenyan constitution recognises access to quality health services as a fundamental right for all citizens, the queer community continue to face struggles when trying to access these services such as discrimination, stigma, and barriers that hindered their access to proper healthcare.

“This story won because I didn’t just illuminate the darkness; I also shone a light on possible solutions. This shows that as journalists it’s not enough to identify problems we must work together to find and implement solutions.” She said.

For long queer individuals have been facing barriers in accessing healthcare services that are inclusive and affirming of their identities. This includes a lack of LGBTQ+ competent healthcare providers, limited availability of gender-affirming care, or difficulty finding services that are sensitive to diverse sexual orientations.

Because of these members of the queer community have been experiencing higher rates of mental health issues due to societal discrimination, and finding mental health professionals who are sensitive to LGBTQ+ issues is also a challenge.

“The good thing is efforts are being made globally to address these challenges. Many healthcare organisations and professionals are now working towards creating more inclusive environments, implementing diversity training, and advocating for policies that protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals in healthcare settings,” said Malemba during an interview after receiving the award.

According to her, despite this progress, it is essential to continue raising awareness, fighting discrimination, and promoting healthcare.

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