Analysis of Online Media on Social Inclusion in Maternal Health Discourse

Frank MAKOZA, Wallace CHIGONA, Mphatso NYEMBA-MUDENDA

Abstract


Maternal health is one of the priorities for many governments across the globe and is included in the Development Millennium Goals of the United Nations. Governments in developing countries and development agencies are also adopting the maternal health in their development agendas. The media plays a major role in promoting innovative interventions like maternal health. The media is important in construction of social reality and may inform the public and policy makers on decisions related to maternal health. This paper reports on the analysis of online media on social inclusion to the discourse for maternal health. The study focused on the case of Malawi as an example of a low income country facing challenges on maternal health. The study employed Critical Discourse Analysis on online media reports to bring to light issues on alienation in participation on maternal health discourse. Using Habermas' Theory of Communicative Action as a theoretical lens, the study analysed the validity claims on maternal health. The analysis showed that (i) the media mainly reported on issues on the supply side of maternal health (ii) other members of the society who are indirectly affected by maternal health were excluded from the maternal health discourse. The study recommends promoting awareness of maternal health to all members of society through online media and inclusion of the marginalised participants to the discourse. A further study is recommended on the effectiveness of online media focusing the demand side of maternal health.

Keywords


Online media; maternal health; critical discourse analysis; Malawi.

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