A Story a Day... The Media as a Preventive Tool in Public Health

November 8, 2012
A legacy assessment of Internews' health journalism program in Kenya

In 2003 a staggering 700 people were dying every day in Kenya as a result of HIV complications. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was a disease of crisis proportions, still characterized at the time by secrecy and fear, rumor and myth, and sensational stories and misleading information.

2003 was also the year that Internews launched its USAID-funded health journalism program in Kenya with the aim of creating a more supportive social environment to prevent and mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS, by working with the media to ensure more enlightened and informed media coverage of the disease and other health issues.

During May-June 2012, Internews conducted an assessment of its work in Kenya to gauge insight into the impact of the project and produced a report - A Story a Day... The Media as a Preventive Tool in Public Health.

Internews’ research was grounded in the maxim that information changes lives, and can even save lives. Guided by two overarching questions – do people want or need health news, and are they satisfied with the health news available to them – a mixed methods approach was used, conducting surveys, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, as well as mining years of project data and reports.

In general, the assessment found that the media are a key factor in improving the lives of Kenyans by providing more, better, and deeper coverage of complex health issues that matter to them.

Read the report: A Story a Day... The Media as a Preventive Tool in Public Health.