Evaluation of Media Contents on Maternal Health
Evaluation of Media Contents on Maternal Health: A baseline study of media coverage of MNCH in Nigeria
This is part of a baseline study of media coverage of Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) in Nigeria, aimed at assessing the frequency and quality of maternal health reports in the Guardian, Vanguard and Daily Trust newspapers in Nigeria. The baseline is expected to serve as benchmark for the project titled, "Bridging the gap: Media, Community-CSOs Collaboration for Accountability and Demand for Quality Maternal Health Services." The project is supported by the MacArthur Foundation to improve Maternal Health Accountability in Nigeria.
This study reviewed 749 stories published in 273 reports and articles in the Guardian, Vanguard and Daily Trust newspapers between October 2013 and December 2013. It adopted the content analysis method of data collection to explore the level of reportage of maternal health only, child health only and general maternal and child health issues in the three national newspapers within
the three months period.
The desk review went through stages of identification of health stories, categorization, data entry, verification, sorting and analysis of maternal health related stories; it was observed that the level of reportage of maternal health is low while the quality is fair. Maternal health only accounted for only 2% of total health stories with a monthly average of one to two stories. Meanwhile, stories on
child health only for instance, accounted for 7% of the total health stories in the reviewed publication. Either of these is a far cry from stories on HIV/AIDS that accounted for 12% of the stories reviewed. The quality was adjudged fair based on the clarity of the story and basic understanding of the subject matter and the tendency of journalists to go the extra mile of getting expert contribution.
It was recommended that the media should increase their reportage on maternal health and intensify their watchdog role to make global and local efforts to improve maternal health in Nigeria a success story. The media are also encouraged to join hands with other stakeholders, including civil society organisations, health professionals and media development organisations to take their roles beyond mere information providers and improve the quality of maternal health reports.