Edith Ugochi Ohaja (PhD), Kenechukwu Josemaria Ugwu, Lilian Kovoroba Asicus


This study compared  how Nigerian newspapers covered communicable diseases (CDs) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) given that the latter are often silent killers that not only have high mortality rates but often lead to chronic conditions characterised by pain, disability and huge financial burdens. The study also examined the prominence and interpretativeness of the stories on the diseases. The study was a content analysis of four purposively chosen national newspapers from Jane 2017 to December 2020. The sample was chosen through the constructed and continuous weeks method and consisted of 224 editions. The sample yielded 190 relevant stories and the data were analysed with descriptive statistics, namely, frequencies, percentages and ratios. The findings indicated, inter alia, that the newspapers wrote more reports on CDs than NCDs but their overall reports about diseases were couched in the straight news form and were not interpretative. The study recommended, among other things, that the press should set beneficial agenda through its health reports to help people learn how to escape and control sickness. Such agenda would also drive policies and programmes that positively affect people's health.


Coverage, Newspapers, Press, Communicable Disease, Non-communicable disease.

Full Text:



Abutu, A. (2018). Nigeria's complicated hepatitis burden. The Lancet: Gastroenterology andHepatology. 10(3). Retrieved from

Arabambi, B., Oshinaike, O., Ogun, S. A., Eze, C., Bello, A. H., Igetei, S., Yusuf, Y., Olanigan, R. A., &Ashiru, S. Y. (2022). Stroke units in Nigeria: a report from a nationwide organizational cross-sectional survey. The Pan-African Medical Journal. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2022.42.140.35086

Apuke, O. D., & Omar, B. (2020). How do Nigerian newspapers report COVID-19 pandemic? The implication for awareness and prevention. Health and Education Research,35(5), 471-480

Amodu, S.E, &Fapohunda, S.O. (2019). Lassa fever and the Nigerian experience: A review. European Journal of Biological Research. doi:

American Diabetes Association. (2005). Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care, 28(1), 337-41l

Basch, C.H., Hillyer, G.C., Meleo-Erwin, Z., Mohlman, J., Cosgrove, A., & Quinones, N. (2020). News coverage of the covid 19 pandemic: Missed opportunities to promote health sustaining behaviors. Infection, Disease and Health. 25(3), 205-209. doi:hhtps://

Bello, S.M. (2015). Newspaper coverage of health issues in Nigeria: the frequency of reporting Malaria, HIV/AIDS and Polio and the effect of seeking health information on the health behaviours of newspaper readers. (PhD thesis submitted to.the University of Canterbury). Retrieved from

Chang, A., Schulz, P.J., &Cheog, A.W. (2020). Online newspaper framing of non-communicable diseases: Comparison of Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Christians, C. G., Glaser, T. L., McQuail, D., Nordenstreng, K., &White, R. A. (2009). Normative theories of the media: Journalism in democratic societies. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Dahiru, T., Aliyu,A.A., &Shehu, A.U. (2016). A review of population-based studies on diabetes mellitus in Nigeria. Sub-saharan African Journal of Medicine, 3(2), 59-64.

Erubami, J. A., Oziwele, P. E., Ohaja, E. U., Ezugwu, M. N., &Anorue, U. C. (2021).Diseases in the tabloids: Mapping newspaper narratives on Lassa fever epidemic in Nigeria. Studiesin Media and Communication, 9(2), 95-103.

Hou, X., Anderson, I., & Burton-McKenzie, E. (2016). Health and non-communicable diseases. The World Bank.

Jemal, A., Bray, F., Center, M.M., Ferlay, J., Ward, E., & Forman, D. (2011). Global cancer statistics. Cancer Journal.61(2), 69-90.

Joseph, O. A, Muhammed, A.Y, Joseph, A. A, Raji, A, Kadiri, K,,&Ibimidu, A. (2016). Knowledge beliefs and sources of information on lassa fever among residents of a community in Ilorin Nigeria. Rom. Jour. of Sociological Studies, New Series (2), 153–166.

Joda, M.,&Aziengbe, V. (2017). Knowledge and awareness of hepatitis B among students of Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State. Novena Journal of Communication, 4, 37-45.

McCombs, M. E., & Shaw, D. L. (1972). The agenda setting function of the press. Public Opinion Quarterly. 36, 176-187.

McQuail, D. (2010). McQuail’s mass communication theory. 6th Edition. London, England: Sage.

Morounke, S.G., Ayorinde, J.B., Benedict, A.O., Adedayo, F.F.,&Adewale F.O., (2017). Epidemiology and incidence of common cancers in Nigeria. Journal of Cancer Biology and Research. 5(3), 1105

Naveena, N. (2015). Importance of mass media in communicating health messages: An analysis. IOSR Journal of humanities and social science (IOSR-JHSS) 20(2),

Newspaper Web Ranking (2019). Retrieved from

Noncommunicable diseases. (2023). WHO. Retrieved from

Ohaja, E. U. (2005). Feature writing simplified. Enugu, Nigeria: El 'Demak.

Ohaja, E. U. (2003). Mass communication research and project report writing. Lagos, Nigeria; John Letterman.

Okorie, N. (2013). Mass media strategies for creating awareness of breast cancer. Public Knowledge Journal, 2(1), 1-18.

Oyama, O., &Okpara, N. (2017). Health communication: The responsibility of the media in Nigeria. Special Journal of Medical Research and Health Services, 2(3), 1-4

Okpoko, C.C., &Aniwada, E.C. (2017). Analyzing trends in press coverage of hypertension in Nigeria. Journal of Education, Society and BehaviouralScience. 21(4), 1-17.

Poverty and health (2014). The World Bank. Retrieved from

Riffe, D., Aust, F.C., & Lacy, R.S. (1993). The effectiveness of random, consecutive day

and constructed week sampling in newspaper content analysis. Journalism

Quarterly. 70(1). Retrieved from

Sokey, P.P., Adjei, E,. &Ankrah, E. (2018). Media use for health information dissemination to rural communities by the Ghana health service. Journal of Information Science, System and Technology. 2(1), 1-18.

Siebert, F. Peterson, T., & Schramm, W. (1956). Four theories of the press. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

WHO (2023). In Nigeria, boosting viral hepatitis awareness and treatment. Retrieved from

WHO (2020). World hepatitis day in Nigeria. Retrieved from

WHO (2019). Hepatitis. Retrieved from

WHO (2016). Obesity and overweight. Retrieved from

WHO (n.d.). Hepatitis. Retrieved from

WHO Sounds alarm on viral hepatitis infections claiming 3500 lives each day. (2024). Retrieved from


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2024 Edith Ugochi Ohaja (PhD), Kenechukwu Josemaria Ugwu, Lilian Kovoroba Asicus

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.










 ISSN (Print):   2695-2319

ISSN (Online): 2695-2327





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.