Media & childbirth in Nepal

Much of the academic literature about the mass  media,  ‘old’ (press, radio, television) or ‘new’ (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like) has focused on high-income countries.  There is a growing literature on the effect on aspects of health and health care of the media in low-income countries.  In an overview article published yesterday we looked at the media, health and health promotion in Nepal as a two-way process [1].  Health promoters need to media to get their messages across to their audiences.  Thus the media offer a vital outlet for health promotion advice and information . Both the general public and health care workers learn about health and medical issues through the mass media.For example,  the mass media are used to increase the uptake of antenatal care among women in rural Nepal [2], or women can get information through YouTube clips [3].

img_6447Much of the academic literature about the mass  media,  ‘old’ (press, radio, television) or ‘new’ (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like) has focused on high-income countries.  There is a growing literature on the effect on aspects of health and health care of the media in low-income countries.  In an overview article published yesterday we looked at the media, health and health promotion in Nepal as a two-way process [1].  Health promoters need to media to get their messages across to their audiences.  Thus the media offer a vital outlet for health promotion advice and information . Both the general public and health care workers learn about health and medical issues through the mass media.For example,  the mass media are used to increase the uptake of antenatal care among women in rural Nepal [2], or women can get information through YouTube clips [3].

Of course, we  are all aware that the media can misrepresent health issues, for example, mess up health statistics and exaggerate health scares. Such misrepresentation is partly through selective reporting and partly through sensationalising issues and focusing on negative effects. Our paper reminds health promoters (and health workers or policy makers) that good news is often ‘not’ interesting enough, they need something that will answer the most basic of questions that the media asks: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Who is this story happening to? What has happened (the event)? Where has it taken place? Why is it happening now and how has this all come about. If health promoters can answer those questions going into any conversation with the media, then there is a chance that a reasonably factually correct stories will appear in the media.

jmmihs-2016We also remind the readers that many politicians are avid media followers, especially if they are named or their party is linked to a public health story. The same is true for multi-national corporations, large public bodies and charities working in the health field. Many such organisations keep a close eye on the media, not just the news, to keep track of how they are portrayed and perceived by the general public, potential customers and even suppliers. Those working in public health should be aware of this and use this knowledge when designing public health messages and campaigns.

 

References:

  1. van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Luce, A., Hundley, V. (2016) Media, Health and Health Promotion in Nepal, Journal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences 2(1): 70-75. http://www.nepjol.info/index.php/JMMIHS/article/view/15799/12744
  2. Acharya, D., Khanal, V., Singh, J.K., Adhikari, M., Gautam, S. (2015) Impact of mass media on the utilization of antenatal care services among women of rural community in Nepal. BMC Research Notes 8:4–9 http://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13104-015-1312-8
  3. Global Health Media Project (no date) Giving good care during labour (Nepali) – Childbirth Series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jjb6mbzaU7Y

 

Presentation Prof. Vanora Hundley

Dr. Julie Roberts, Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, leads a Wellcome Trust Seed Award on ‘Televising Childbirth: Understanding media impacts on perceptions of risk, women’s choices and health’. This project investigates the relationship between reality TV and women’s experiences of pregnancy and labour. The project brings together perspectives from midwifery, sociology, television studies and health humanities. It seeks the views of service users, activists and the media industry. The objective is to develop a new approach to questions about the role of TV in shaping women’s perceptions of risk, autonomy and choice during labour.wellcome-nottingham

As part of this project Prof. Vanora Hundley at University of Bournemouth (BU) will be speaking on Dec. 14th 2016 about ‘Changing the Narrative around Birth: Midwives Views of Working with the Media’. Prof. Hundley is a co-author on a study with colleagues at Bournemouth University and the University of Stirling with the title: “Is it realistic?” the portrayal of pregnancy and childbirth in the media’ [1]. luce-bmc-pregnancy-childbirthThe lead-author of this paper, Dr. Ann Luce is based in the Faculty of Media & Communication (BU), her co-authors Dr. Catherine Angell, Prof. Vanora Hundley, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and Dr. Marilyn Cash are all associated with the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (BU), whilst Prof. Helen Cheyne is based at the University of Stirling. Previous publications around childbirth and the media by Prof. Hundley focused on fear in childbirth [2] and the question whether midwives need to engage more actively with the mass media [3].

 

References:

  1. Luce, A., Cash, M., Hundley, V., Cheyne, H., van Teijlingen, E., Angell, C. (2016) “Is it realistic?” the portrayal of pregnancy and childbirth in the media BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 16: 40
  2. Hundley, V., Duff, E., Dewberry, J., Luce, A., van Teijlingen, E. (2014) Fear in childbirth: are the media responsible? MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 24(4): 444-447.
  3. Hundley, V., Luce, A., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) Do midwives need to be more media savvy? MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 25(1):5-10.

The sad media stories about childbirth

two headed boyThere are many types of childbirth stories in the media. We all have seen stories about celebrities’ pregnancies, stories about the first baby born on Christmas day, stories about breast-feeding mother being told to leave a restaurant or public transport. There are also more factual statistical stories about birth rates and improving maternal mortality ratios. Today I came across a story of a deformed baby being born in Nepal. The English-language daily paper The Himalayan Times in Nepal carried a story of a woman who gave birth to a baby with two heads at the Hanumannagar Health Post of Saptari district two days ago. Unfortunately, the paper gave the woman’s name and age so little respect for the mother’s privacy.

Saptari woman gives birth to two-headed baby boy

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
CMMPH, Bournemouth University

Interesting article in The Kathmandu Post today (31 July 2016)

Laxmi Tamang KTM POST 2016Laxmi Tamang makes a very good point in her article ‘Unkindest cut’ published in The Kathmandu Post (today 31 July 2016) about the lack of midwifery in Nepal. Midwifery is a profession independent from nursing, whereas nursing overwhelmingly deals with sick patients, midwifery deals with predominantly healthy pregnant women and women in labour. Pregnancy and childbirth are not an illness! We stated a few years ago that: ‘Nepal needs midwifery’ (see http://www.nepjol.info/index.php/JMMIHS/article/view/9907).

Nepal needs midwifery

Prof. Edwin Roland van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health, Bournemouth University, UK

Fear in childbirth and the Media

My first post of this dedicated ‘Media & Midwifery’ WordPress site. It was established to address issues around the role and influence of the media on societal attitudes and views on pregnancy, childbirth and other issues around new mothers.  This site is hosted by students and staff based at Bournemouth University (UK).   The hosts include members of the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health and the Journalism & Communication Academic Group at Bournemouth University.

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