How Do Nigerian Newspapers Report Corruption in the Health System?

Document Type : Review Article


Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK


Nigeria has a huge burden of corruption, with the health system especially vulnerable. The media can play a role in tackling it, by shaping the narrative around it. However, its influence depends on the extent and framing of its reporting on corruption. This paper reviews, for the first time, coverage of corruption in the health system in the Nigerian print media.

The top 10, by circulation, newspapers in Nigeria were selected and searched using the LexisNexis database for articles covering corruption in the health sector over a 2-year period (2016–2018). Two newspapers are not included in the database and were searched manually. 135 articles were identified and subject to content and framing analyses.

The Punch newspaper had the highest number of publications focussed on corruption in the health sector. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was the organization attracting most coverage, followed by the Federal Ministry of Health. Corruption in the health sector was predominantly framed as a political issue. Most coverage was episodic, focused on the details of the particular case, with much less thematic, delving into underlying causes. Corruption was most often attributed to a lack of accountability while enforcement was the most frequent solution proffered.

This study highlights the potential role of media analyses in helping to understand how newspapers cover corruption in the health sector in Nigeria. It argues that the media has the potential to act as an agent of change for tackling corruption within the health sector.


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Volume 10, Issue 2
February 2021
Pages 77-85
  • Receive Date: 25 August 2019
  • Revise Date: 02 March 2020
  • Accept Date: 03 March 2020
  • First Publish Date: 01 February 2021