Baseline study of Media-CSO engagements on Maternal and Child Health Issues (a study of CSO-media practise in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and Jigawa)

Baseline study of Media-CSO engagements on Maternal and Child Health Issues (a study of CSO-media practise in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and Jigawa)

This baseline study is part of an activity under the project: "Bridging the Gap: Media, Community-CSOs Collaboration for Accountability and Demand for Quality Maternal Health Services in Nigeria". The project which is being implemented in Lagos, JigawaKaduna and Abuja falls under the objective of “strengthening communications and collaboration between media, community leaders, health workers and CSOs working on maternal health accountability to demand improved maternal health services and increase stakeholders' awareness”.

In a bid to achieve the set objective, it was imperative to understand existing relationship between the media and civil society organisations in the states. A good understanding of the relationship between the two parties is believed to be indispensable in the implementation of an appropriate intervention targeted at both the media and CSOs in order to stimulate joint efforts aimed at demanding maternal health accountability from the Nigerian government.

The study data was collected with two sets of self-administered questionnaires administered among CSOs and health journalists accordingly. A total of 43 health journalists and 14 CSOs representatives were purposely selected to participate in the exploratory study aimed at throwing more light into media - CSO collaboration in Nigeria. The data from the respondents were then analysed and presented with frequency tables, percentages and charts generated by Microsoft Excel software. Using purposive sampling technique was essential in order to ensure recruitment of only qualified respondents who have experience working with either group.

The researchers found out that there was a high level of mistrust and dissatisfaction in the manner the media and the CSOs have been interacting. The CSOs perceived the media as highly commercialized. About 67% of CSO leaders surveyed reported high demand for money and 50% reported inadequate results after media engagement, as prominent challenges faced while working with the media. The media on the other hand accused the CSOs of non-availability for interviews, delayed responses, inadequate resource support, and reluctance to bear attribution, amongst other challenges.

This study reveals cross-beat reporting by the journalists as about 60% of health reporters in radio and television report general beat while 57% correspondents report health for their media. More so, 43% of specialized health reporters combine health reporting with other issues like science, environment, technology, education, women and children.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016