Coverage of HIV/AIDs by Selected Local Tabloids in Akwa Ibom state
Background to the Study
Over the last 20 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has documented at least 30 new diseases probably the best known being AIDS – Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome. Traditional attempts to cure the diseases have been clinical in approach, attempting to identify linear interactions between a specific human health indicator and its outcome. The first cases were reported to have seen at Enugu (South-east) and Lagos South-west geopolitical zones of Nigeria respectively. Subsequently, tricks of cases continued to be reported from various parts of the country. By 1991, an HIV prevalence rate of 1.8% in some federal reports was observed among pregnant women attending anti-natural clinics in the first documented natural HIV survey (Bulletin of Epidemiology, 1992). This progressively rose through 4.5% in 1996 to 5.8% in 2001. Drop to 5.0% to 4.4% were observed in 2003 and 2005 surveys respectively (HSS 2003 and 2005). From the prevalence rates over the years, it was clear that Nigerian situation was characterized by multiple epidemics with varying agrees in the various states. The medical communities have grappled for along with the control of disease such as malaria and with the reduction of child mortality rates through immunization.
The escalating figures on HIV/AIDS necessitated that other options be identified, developed and sustained, since the Nigerian health care system are currently grossly inadequate for the care of HIV/AIDs patients (Odoemelam and Nwachukwu, 2010). Looking back over the past efforts against the epidemic the initial reaction of Nigerian government was to persuade individuals and selected groups to change their behaviour by providing information about HIV/AIDS. Gradually, behaviour change was understood to require more than information; the importance of decision making and negotiation skills to be effective programmes need to make HIV visible and the factors leading to its spread, discussable. Programmes need to make people aware of the existence of HIV and how it spread, without stigmatizing the behaviour that lead to its information. These can be achieved cost-effectively through mass media campaign (Odoemelam and Nwachukwu 2011) and also Falobi et al. (2002) cited that mass media has the potential to improve general awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS, to set agenda for public discussion and policy making on AIDS. Adeyi et al. (2006) report increase in frequency newspapers reported that could be used as one of the many tools to educate the Nigerian communities.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The underlying statement of problem for this thesis centres on the major aspects of health communication research within the context of newspapers. This study examines the potential of local tabloids in creating awareness about HIV/AIDS through the frequency of coverage given to this health problems in Nigeria. This study specifically focuses attention on HIV/AIDS as a result of their prevalence in Nigeria and the consequential social and economic losses the country has recorded over the years. In this regard, the study examines the effect of seeking health information in Nigerian newspapers on the health behaviours of newspaper readers. Furthermore, given that health reporters play a central role in health reporting, which involves a wide range of challenges as a result of the specialised nature of health issues, this study investigates the influence of health and science training and the general challenges involved in health reporting among newspaper health reporters in Nigeria. All of these aspects, therefore, led to the central questions of the thesis: What is the frequency of newspaper coverage of HIV/AIDS and what is the nature of challenge involved in health reporting among health reporters in Nigeria? The second central question asks to what effect does seeking health information in Nigerian newspapers have on the health behaviours of newspaper readers?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study is on the Coverage of HIV/AIDs by selected Local tabloids in Akwa Ibom state
The specific objectives are:
- To ascertain the type of publications carried by the two tabloids in Akwa Ibom.
- To identify the frequency of media coverage of HIV/AIDS on the selected Tabloids.
- To identify the type of HIV/AIDS messages carried by the Tabloid
- perceived of newspapers coverage of news
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the type of publications carried by the two tabloids in Akwa Ibom>
- What are the frequency of media coverage of HIV/AIDS on the selected Tabloids?
- What are the type of HIV/AIDS messages carried by the Tabloid?
- How does readers perceived newspapers coverage of HIV/AIDS>.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The population for this study comprised all issues of the local tabloids published in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria between January and December, 1999-2019. However, for the purposes of convenience and in order to save time and cost, the study covered only Daily Trust, Daily Sun, Guardian and Vanguard publications. To Ohaja (2003, p.67), “the idea behind this delimitation of boundaries is to avoid embarking on an unmanageable venture”.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is hoped to be useful to various segments of the society. It will serve as an addition or contribution to existing literature on the topic and similar ones. It will further serve as a reference material to scholars, journalism students and practitioners who may want to pursue this idea further by providing data to substantiate or refute its claims.
There is no doubt that the study will provide government and institutions with insight into the level of press coverage of HIV/AIDS news. It will also equip policy makers with ideas on the successes and failures of their several health policies