2.14 Khatib Juma Mjaja – Staying On The Trail
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Khatib Juma Mjaja, a journalist from Pemba who reports for Zanzibar Leo Newspaper and Sauti ya Zanzibar Radio, did a series of stories on the importance of iodine in salt and the limited iodine stock in Pemba. This followed the release of study findings by the Ministry of Health supported by UNICEF which showed that only one per cent of the 8,494 households tested in Pemba used iodised salt.
Later, Mjaja’s lead was picked up by other radio stations and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Marketing. The iodine media campaign finally led to the establishment of a law in 2011 banning the sale of non-iodine salt. Meanwhile, the media campaigns have sensitised consumers to assess their salt using cassava starch and consumers now routinely ask for iodine salts when they go to the shops.
Mjaja says, “I feel very satisfied by the response the stories have generated, The government has called a stakeholders meeting to see how it can address the iodine deficiency in Pemba, The communities are aware of the importance of using iodine salts. The experience has taught me to be creative. The impact created has given me courage and confidence to go after issues. I am more creative in my production and editing and all this has been possible through the TMF mentorship I got in in-depth reporting.”