Documenting and analysing Tanzanian newspaper articles is one of the activities
carried out by YAV staffs to monitor and highlight the state of national and local
health services.
During the period January to March 2009 a total of 594 health-related articles were
documented from the major daily and weekly newspapers, including: Mwananchi,
Mtanzania, Tanzania Daima, Daily News, Habari Leo, The Citizen, and This Day, The
Guardian, and Sunday citizen, Kulikoni, Nipashe and Raia Mwema. These health articles
varied in terms of focus: from HIV/AIDS, human resource issues, facilities and
equipments to reproductive health, budget and planning, malaria, cancer and heart
diseases and outbreak diseases.
HIV/AIDS once again when compares with the previous 2008 newspaper analysis,
received more attention in the newspapers than any other health-related topics
analysed. This trend is much associated with uneven increase of infection rate and the
increase of different individuals and organizations trying to tackle this tragic health issue.
HIV/AIDS category occupied 155 of the 594 articles analysed (25%). Much attention is
given to prevention and caring of the victims with stories such as; Youth given behaviour
change training in combating HIV/Aids by the Guardian of 7th March 2009, Nyumba
Ntobho, tohara (kwa wanawake) visipewe nafasi nchini written by Tanzania Daima of
March, 15th 2000 and US builds modern HIV/Aids treatment centre in Kibiti by The
Guardian of February 28th 2009
General Health News
This category contains general health news which occurred from January 1st to March
31st 2009. Most of health news reported under this category report on hazardous
situations that need to be prevented in order to avoid health disasters. They provide
general health education and precautions to avoid damaging healthy situations Such
stories includes; ‘public health bill expected to meet current challenges’ written by The
Citizen on January 29th 2009, ’Tukidharau vyoo tunakaribisha hatari’, by Tanzania
Daima on February 8th 2009 and ‘Ulaji ovyo wa chipsi mayai hatari kwa afya za watoto’
by Kulikoni on 9th February 2009 and ‘Domestic violence, major public health concern’
written by Daily News on March 12nd 2009.
Malaria continued to be a health issue that was ‘out of sight’ for many Tanzanian local
newspapers. Despite the fact that Malaria is a first killer deasese of mostly children
under five years, it does not receive much attention in these newspapers. Only 28
stories related to Malaria out of 594 of all health related stories were reported during this
period; that is only 5% of the total stories analysed. Even the choice of the stories
reported does not reflect the extent of destruction that Malaria has on human lives. For
example, during this period, there were a lot of cases of fake malaria drugs that caused
a lot of problems , most of local newspapers especially those of this analysis did not
take this issue seriously. Most of the reporters are biased in selection of the stories to
report under this category. The most stories covered under this category had the
following headings: ‘New hope for malaria vaccine in Africa’ reported by This Day on
January 8th 2009, ‘Malaria yaua watoto 16’ by Tanzania Daima on February 17th 2009
and ‘One in three malaria drugs failing in Tanzania’ written by This Day on March 5th
Outbreak diseases
Outbreak diseases and other type of diseases are other types of health categories
analysed. They both occupied 22 and 51 stories out of 594 total articles analysed which
is 4% and 9% respectively. Most of stories reported under the outbreak category gave
the statistics of the erupted diseases such as cholera and anthrax in order to ensure that
precautions are taken earlier - before further damaging occur. Such stories reported
were; ‘Sita wafariki kwa kipindupindu Moro’ reported by Mwananchi on January 7th 2009,
‘Ugonjwa wa kimeta wapiga hodi nchini’ by Mwananchi on 28th February 2009 and
‘Cholera hits serengeti district, kills 4 people’ written by The Citizen on March 11th, 2009.
In the category of other diseases, stories reported were such as; ‘Yajue magonjwa 60
yanayotokana na unywaji wa pombe’ reported by Tanzania Daima on January 8th , 2009,
‘Maumivu ya mgongo na namna ya kupambana nayo’ by Raia Mwema on February 4 ,
2009 and ‘More push needed in compaign against TB’ reported by The Guardian on
March 25th 2009.
Reproductive health
Reproductive health is another category of health analysed. It occupies 84 stories out of
594 stories reported in both English and Swahili newspapers. Unlike the previous 2008
newspaper analysis, , this category received much attention from these newspapers.
This was due to public campaign done by our government and NGO’s on reducing
maternal mortality in Tanzania. In this period, a lot of cases of student pregnancies were
reported by most of newspapers. The shaking stories related to reproductive health
were; ‘8,000 women die of childbirth annually in Tanzania’ reported by Sunday News on
February 8th, 2009, ‘wanafunzi 568 wapewa ujauzito’ reported by Tanzania Daima on
March 14th 2009 and ‘medics to be rewarded in efforts to stem mother, child death’ by
The Guardian on January 29th 2009.
Cancer and heart disease
Cancer and heart disease comprised of 2% each, which is about 14 and 9 stories of all
594 of health related stories covered consecutively. Most of the cancer stories were
based on the resumed treatments of the patients which were stopped due to the theft of
the important machine for treatment at the Ocean Road Hospital. They are also
pinpointing some important hints resulting to the development of cancer and its all types.
Stories covered under this category were such as; ‘Scientists find a gene that makes
cancer spread’ reported by The Guardian on January 7th, 2009, ‘huduma kwa wagonjwa
wa saratani kurejea’ by Mtanzania on February 11th 2009. And in the heart category, the
mostly reported issues were based on the sending of heart patients to India for surgery
with articles such as; ‘25 heart patients fly to India for surgery’ reported by The Guardian
on March 2nd 2009, ‘37 heart patients return from India in good condition’ by This Day on
February 3rd 2009.
Human resources
Human resources is another health-related issue reported in the Media. It accounts to 45
stories - that is 8% of all stories collected and analysed. Most of the human resources
stories covered issues of human resource shortages and unethical conducts of some
health service providers including issues of corruption. For example, Mwananchi on
February 17th, 2009, wrote about the corruption attempted by a nurse with a title ‘Nesi
kizimbani kwa rushwa ya sh 8,000’. Other headlines include; ‘Mara yakosa daktari
bingwa’ by Habari Leo on February 24th 2009, ‘wauguzi wasio na maadili wakidhibitiwa
vifo kwa wajawazito vitapungua’ by Kulikoni on March 11th 2009. Some of the
newspapers wrote about different Government strategies taken to retain the ‘running
away doctors’ with stories such as; ‘Madaktari wa upasuaji vijijini kwenda India’ written
by Tanzania Daima on January 24th 2009 and ‘Medics recommend training of doctors’ by
The Citizen of March 9, 2009 .
Health budget and planning
It is another category of analysis. It explains about different health strategic plans and
budgets including aids and funds from in and outside Tanzania that are viable to the
health sector development. It occupies a total number of 17 stories out of 594 health
reported stories in this period which is about 3%. The stories reported under this
category includes;’ WHO gets Gates grant for child medicines research’ written by This
Day on January 23rd 2009, ‘635 USD million is donated for the fight against polio’ by The
Guardian on January 24th 2009, Global Fund grants Tanzania 898bn/- to combat AIDS,
TB and malaria’ written by the Guardian on February 13th 2009 and ‘Ufinyu wa bajeti
wadumaza huduma’ written by Nipashe on March 4th 2009
Health facilities and equipment
Health facilities and equipment is another category of analysis which covers issues
related to health infrastructures including equipments and medical supplies. It explores
issues of health facilities, equipments and medical therapies. This category occupied a
total number of 70 stories which is about 12% of all 594 health stories reported for the
period of three months. Such stories are; ‘US Embassy to give equipments to health
ministry’ reported by This Day on February 5th 2009, ‘Vodacom marks Foundation Day
with donation of beds and bed sheets to hospitals in five regions in the country’ by This
day of February 27th 2009, ‘Ocean Road yapatiwa dawa za mil.20/-, - Tanzania Daima
March 9th, 2009 and The Guardian on January 9th 2009 reports ‘Govt earmarks 52m/for leprosy hospital rehabilitation, upgrade’.
Concluding remarks
Generally, health news continued to drag behind the choice of many journalists. Unlike
other areas, Health is not given much priority in most of the popular newspapers,
especially those we did an analysis. It seems that most of reporters are much influenced
by the political and mostly shaking news. It is unquestionable that, most of these
newspapers are business oriented and there fore the selection of news to write depend
much on the market demands. For example, in this period from January to March, most
of newspapers were very busy writing about albino killings, The Zombe trial and others
alike leaving behind area of health.
The pie chart below provides a clear picture of the information presented in this note. For
more information regarding the analysis please refer to the excel spreadsheet and
contact YAV’s Department for Information and Communication.
Reproductive Health
Outbreak Disease
Facilities and
General Health
Other Disease
Human Resource
Heart Disease
Other Disease
Facilities and Equipments
Outbreak Disease
General Health News
Human Resource
Reproductive Health
Health Budget and
Heart Disease
Health Budget and Planning

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