Does health-related content in a major Ugandan newspaper reflect the changing burden of disease in East Africa?

Cooper, Maxwell, Aiyer, Rohit, Sornalingam, Sangeetha and Lawrence, David (2016) Does health-related content in a major Ugandan newspaper reflect the changing burden of disease in East Africa? International Journal of Communication and Health, 10. pp. 44-52. ISSN 2359-8220

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Disease burden in urban sub-Saharan Africa is changing rapidly. Mortality and morbidity from chronic physical disease (e.g. heart, disease, stroke and cancer) is rising rapidly and believed to be as great as from infections (e.g. malaria, HIV and tuberculosis). Other increasing disease burdens in sub Saharan Africa include mental illness, substance abuse and accidents, especially road traffic collisions (RTC). Newspaper readership is rising in Uganda. This study used content analysis to examine health-related coverage in one major Ugandan newspaper (New Vision). 29 consecutive paper copies from September/October 2013 were examined independently by two researchers. Health-related articles were identified, counted and coded according to clinical content. Clinical and healthcare-related coverage was present in every edition and represented approximate proportions of 2.6% and 0.4% respectively of total newspaper content. Of 214 news articles identified, these covered the following clinical themes: general well-being (15.4%), healthcare services (14.5%), HIV (12.1%), violence/accidents (11.2%), chronic physical disease (11.2%), sexual, maternal and reproductive health (SMRH) (10.8%), non-HIV infective diseases (10.8), malnutrition (7.9%), substance misuse (3.3%) and mental health (2.8%). Coverage of RTCs, alcohol, smoking, and cancers other than of the breast and cervix was minimal. Health-related content was dominated by infections, healthcare quality, general wellbeing, SMRH and malnutrition. This does not represent the changing burden of disease in Uganda. There may be scope for targeted interventions with editors to promote coverage of growing challenges, including lifestyle advice to prevent chronic diseases.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: mass media, Uganda, medical journalism, newspapers, healthcare, chronic disease, mental health, road safety, substance abuse, malnutrition
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Division of Medical Education
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R702 Medicine and the humanities. Medicine and disease in relation to history, literature, etc.
Depositing User: Maxwell Cooper
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2017 15:05
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 19:39

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