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Racheal Agbonkhese

Racheal Agbonkhese

B.Sc Human Nutrition (University of Ibadan) MA (Cardiff University)

Position: PhD Student


Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 75688

Location: Room 1.24, Bute Building

PhD Research

Maternal Mortality and Agenda Setting

Maternal mortality is the single largest indicator of disparity between developing countries and the rest of the world. Over the last two decades, the patterns of maternal mortality have remained the same, with more than 500, 000 women dying every year, 99% of these in developing countries.

The establishment of the millennium development goals, among other policy initiatives, is indicative of strong local and international commitment to averting maternal deaths worldwide. Theoretical propositions about the maternal mortality challenge concede that it is one which transcends the boundaries of health alone but also extends into the realms of culture, policy, economics and societal values. On this basis therefore, proposed solutions predominantly address these issues, highlighting various stakeholders and their respective roles in combating the problem.

My research focuses on the role of the media (as a stakeholder and the fourth estate), in generating political priority for maternal mortality through its agenda setting ability. The sample for this study is the print media in Nigeria, a country which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, second only to India. The study will examine the various factors that determine the media agenda, particularly for health issues and the role that the media can play in partnership with other stakeholders, to influence the polity and give maternal mortality the political attention that it deserves.

Within the context of this research (i.e. the role of the media), I will also be investigating the role of the sources such as civil society groups, NGOs, traditional birth attendants and health practitioners. Alongside empirical evidence, my research will build on my professional experience as a public relations practitioner, to assess the challenges that lie within current communication practices on the side of the source organisations, and how these have influenced their ability to effectively publicise their messages.

The outcomes of this study will prove valuable to developmental agencies and governments in the design of future interventions for combating maternal mortality. Not only will it highlight the role that the media can play in helping to abate the problem, it will bring to the fore the extent and limits of media influence on policy in developing nations, as well as exploring how communication practices of source organisations might be improved.

Supervisor: Professor Jenny Kitzinger


2009/2010: Researching Media Audiences (2nd year): Module Co-ordinator, Professor Jenny Kitzinger

2010/2011: International Marketing (MA, International Public Relations)

2009 to date: Dissertation Supervision (MA, International Public Relations)



B.Sc Human Nutrition (University of Ibadan, 2001)
MA, International Public Relations (Cardiff University, 2008/9)

Work Experience

I am an Integrated Marketing Communications professional with experience in the fields of advertising, brand management, marketing, design and public relations.

My practice experience has included fulltime and consulting roles in NGOs, not-for-profit organisations, small businesses, large corporate organisations, government and policy makers. I have also served in several senior management and entrepreneurial capacities and as such, bring into communication development, invaluable management principles. These have helped to ensure that such communication strategies are in sync with, as well as help to deliver on, management objectives. Today, this professional experience has greatly facilitated my work at Cardiff University, in both my teaching and research roles.

Upon completion of my PhD, I intend to consolidate on my professional and academic experience by exploring consulting and full time opportunities with governments and policy makers, on health and developmental communication issues. I also intend to continue my research work part time, because I find the process of gaining and impacting knowledge challenging and fulfilling.