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Framing Poverty in Nigerian Online Media Reports on the Inaugural Neglected Tropical Diseases Day


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are so called because they affect the poor people in the low income tropical and subtropical regions of the world which do not draw much global attention. The diseases can be totally cured with adequate clinical interventions; however, their persistence, in spite of the availability of drugs, brought about the dedication of January 30 as a world awareness day to focus on them. This chapter looks into online media reports about the day in Nigeria, the country with 45% of the disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 34 reports turned up by a Google search were sampled. Using framing theory, the chapter identifies how the reports, relying on the testimonies of medical experts, rightly highlight poverty as the major driver of the diseases. They are, however, silent about the need to eradicate poverty in order to eradicate the diseases, thus neglecting it (poverty) at a critical point. This creates an amputated frame that does not deliver on how the incidence of the diseases can be holistically tackled. Journalists are urged to conduct independent research when reporting on technical issues in order to complement the testimonies of experts and thus complete their frames.

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