TMP contributor takes reporting prize
Comfort Mussa, a regular contributor to the TMP web site, recently won the first prize in the Excellence in Epilepsy Award 2011 with her story “Epilepsy Myths Promote Stigma, Prevent Care in Cameroon”.
The story, which took the prize in the online category, was first published at the Global Press Institute web site and later at The Media Project in September, 2011.
“I am very delighted that my article won the award. Epilepsy is a very important issue because it affects many people in our communities. The disease is demonized and not well understood in Cameroon, and people living with epilepsy are often stigmatized," says Mussa.
“Comfort Mussa tackled an important issue in Africa, the demonizing of epilepsy, and did so in a very compelling way,” commented Joachim Mueller-Jung, member of the judging panel, Writer and Journalist, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany.
The story explores how myths lead to stigma, and Mussa's writing sensitizes the community to the importance of accepting people with epilepsy, Mueller-Jung added.
“Being a journalist is fun because I meet people from different backgrounds and learn about their experiences and cultures." Mussa told TMP. "It is also fun providing people with information that enables them make informed decisions,” says Comfort, who recently came back from Addis Ababa where she was among the award winners for an essay on youth and agriculture, sponsored by New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD).
The International Bureau of Epilepsy (IBE) and UCB (a global biopharma company) announced the winners of the 2011 Excellence in Epilepsy Journalism Award on April 12 to improve understanding of epilepsy around the world. All the award winners receive €4,000 each in travel vouchers and are encouraged to use their prize to defray travel costs related to further journalistic research and publications about epilepsy.
Mike Glynn, award judge and President of IBE said he was impressed by the standard of the articles submitted for consideration to the judging panel this year.
“We were pleased to receive almost 50 entries from 24 countries across the world," Glynn remarked. "The importance of accurate, insightful journalism across the globe is important for the epilepsy community, who often face deep-seated stigma and misconceptions about the reality of the condition.”
“Our hope is that over time, we can help to encourage more reporting that begins to break down these barriers to understanding and acceptance for many people living with epilepsy across the world," Glynn continued.