Experts urge media to focus on maternal health milestones

HealthcareAs Nigeria seeks various strategies to improving maternal and newborn health, experts have urged journalists to highlight positive development and milestones in the fight against maternal and newborn deaths in Nigeria.

Speaking during a four-day workshop on investigative and evidence-based journalism organised by MamaYe Evidence for Action (E4A) in Nigeria, the Country Director of MamaYe Nigeria, Dr Tunde Segun, stated that it was high time journalists de-emphasised negative stories to highlighting positive reports on maternal and newborns issues in Nigeria.

Newborn and maternal health has been a thorny issue in Nigeria, which has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios (MMR) in the world with 576 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Throwing light on why media should move away from spotlighting negatives to accomplishments in the journey to curb maternal deaths, Segun explained that playing up the negatives in maternal challenges would inadvertently lead to people become thick-skinned to stories focusing on maternal deaths.“Our focus at MamaYe is survival,” Segun said.

The Country Director stated that newsmen should rather explain to Nigerians in various media reportage on how individuals in their little capacities can contribute their quotas in reducing MMR and morbidities.

“The media is a recognised tool to strengthen accountability and transparency for the benefit of good governance and the public services demanded by citizens.Nowhere is this function more important in Nigeria today than in the issue of maternal and newborn health (MNH),” Segun said.

“In recent years, public and privately owned Nigerian media has expanded rapidly and seen the rise in prominence of online platforms for reporting. However, high quality coverage of health remains a challenge, with MNH receiving only 10 per cent of the health coverage in national newspapers
In addition, MNH reporting is dominated by stories of events and lacks critical analysis and data to inform policy recommendations.”

Segun said that MamaYe has done a lot to improve accurate reportage or maternal and newborn health, adding that journalists should not shy away from making accurate analysis in highlighting maternal issues.

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