The Challenges Of Mass Media Public Health Communication In Rural Communities

Project and Seminar Material for Public Health

The Challenges Of Mass Media Public Health Communication In Rural Communities


Abstract


This study was carried out on the examination of the challenges of mass media public health communication in rural communities using Umuoyo community, Nsukka, Enugu State as a case study. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of residents of Umuoyo community, Nsukka, Enugu State. In determining the sample size, the researcher purposefully selected 113 respondents and 85 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables, and mean scores. The result of the findings reveals that rural communities do not have adequate access to public health information through mass media. The study also revealed that the factors mitigating against effective pubic health communication through mass media comprises of lack of adequate government support for the activities in the area of health campaigns, high cost of mobilizing the rural populace for positive health action, other of illiteracy and high cost of producing health programmes, lack of articulated communication policies on the implementation of community media in Nigeria, corruption in government circles affects the effectiveness of mass media health broadcasting, poor access to mass media appliance by community residents, poor audience coverage, and poor network signal. Therefore, it is recommended that government at all levels and the private sector should provide adequate infrastructural facilities in the rural areas to improve the effectiveness of media services.


Table of Content


Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review
  • 2.4 Chapter Summary

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • 5.4 Suggestion for Further Studies
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE 

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The mass media have been tasked with a critical role in promoting universal health. Certain individuals have approached this task with “evangelical zeal,” disregarding decades of research and expertise in the use of mass communication for public health education (Anaeto, 2017). The commercial success of mass media is sometimes assumed to be directly transferable to influencing health behaviour, even though advertising typically attempts to change pre-existing patterns, but public health programmes frequently try to alter deeply ingrained attitudes and behaviours (Chemwaina, 2019). Gilluly (2009) asserts that the image of mass communication in public health is not entirely negative. Skillfully crafted media may result in the acquisition of information and the modification of relatively neutral attitudes. Notably, it is the media’s role and obligation to collect information from the environment (surveillance function), analyze it (correlation function), and mobilize the public (mobilisation function) in opposition to a particular topic, scenario, or movement, as well as to amuse them (entertainment function). Public health communication, as a function of the mass media, is a preventative measure of communication in which health messages are distributed via media technologies and organizations with the goal of raising awareness about illnesses and afflictions in rural and urban communities.

However, it seems as if the Nigerian mass media have fallen short of their responsibility to educate people (particularly rural residents) and raise their awareness of their health and the illnesses that surround them. Sixsmith et al. (2014) seem to feel that the media has been ineffective in rural regions in terms of health protection, prevention, and treatment, as well as health promotion and awareness. Even issues concerning food and nutrition that recommend what people should eat and how they should exercise to avoid heart disease and obesity appear to have received scant media attention, leading to the conclusion that the growth and development of health communication in rural communities in Nigeria may have been stifled, as media practitioners and organizations may have treated health communication as unimportant. In view of the above, this research will focus on the difficulties associated with mass media public health communication in rural communities.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Diseases are one of the problems that the modern human population encounters (Okoro, Nwachukwu, and Ajaero, 2015). It is an ever-increasing menace. New diseases emerge periodically, and established ones develop new strains, putting the resources, patience, and knowledge of people, national governments, international agencies, and non-governmental organizations to the test (NGOs). According to Oyebanji (2007), referenced in Okoro et al. (2015), Nigeria’s health care system is in shambles. Thousands of people are afflicted with malaria, typhoid, polio, chicken pox, diarrhea, guinea worms, and measles, among other diseases (both adults and children).

Each year, there are an increasing number of instances of these diseases, demonstrating that people are either oblivious to or unable of acting on the signals about these illnesses. According to Dada (2018), many individuals are dangerously uninformed of these disorders’ signs and effects. However, information is critical for avoiding and mitigating the impact of such diseases on people, families, communities, and society at large. Thus, effective health information transmission through mass media aimed at increasing public knowledge of health-related topics would contribute to the improvement of people’s health, especially those living in rural regions who face poor health practices, severe diseases, and disabilities (Krough, Ichijo, and Nonaka 2015). However, substantial worries and challenges about public health, family planning, and infectious and noncommunicable diseases exist in the majority of Nigeria’s rural communities. This indicates that Nigerians have a debilitating quality of life as a consequence of a general lack of awareness about the majority of diseases. It is only normal that individuals would seek beneficial information regarding these health concerns from reputable sources during such trying times (Omoera, 2016).

According to Onabanjo (2015), the mass media (particularly television and radio) have positioned themselves in rural communities as the most accessible and information-patronized channel of mass communication. Due to its immediacy, ubiquity, and capacity to simultaneously reach a large, dispersed, and anonymous audience, television is a great medium for keeping people informed about current events through a variety of programmes.

News, interviews, chats, periodicals, documentaries, plays, and health-related activities comprise the mass media program. In particular, in the field of health, the majority of campaigns promoting healthy living, such as child immunization, family planning, raising awareness about a deadly pandemic, and the importance of avoiding certain health hazards, such as unprotected sex and cigarette smoking, are communicated to the populace through mass media programs (Ugande 2006, cited in Okwonn 2016).

To this end, Kogi State’s mass media stations have a variety of health programmes on their schedules with the sole background of raising awareness about the state’s health pandemics and highlighting the efforts of government and non-governmental organizations in the fight against the dreaded diseases.

However, the mass media’s efficacy in delivering public health information in rural communities has been harmed by a variety of challenges. According to Okwonn (2016), these challenges have hampered the dissemination of health information through mass media, as well as rural residents’ access to critical health information. In light of the above, this research will examine the challenges associated with mass media public health communication in rural communities.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The overall aim of this study is to critically examine the challenges of mass media public health communication in rural communities. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;

  1. Determine whether rural communities have adequate access to public health information through mass media.
  2. Identify the factors mitigating against effective pubic health communication through mass media.
  3. Ascertain the opinions of rural residents on how those challenges can be remedied.

1.4 Research Questions

The research is guided by the following research questions:

  1. Does rural communities have adequate access to public health information through mass media?
  2. What are the factors mitigating against effective pubic health communication through mass media?
  3. What are the ways through which those challenges can be remedied?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Prior to the advent of the worldwide pandemic “Covid-19,” diseases and maternal mortality had been growing in Nigeria, with a high incidence in rural areas. Despite people’ efforts to get credible information on these health issues, the majority of them still lack basic knowledge regarding the causes, modes of transmission, and prevention of these health problems. Thus, the value of this study cannot be overstated, as it will assist the Dekina, citizens, media outlets, journalists, the government, students, and scholars, among others.

To inhabitants of Dekina, this research will serve as a forum to voice their displeasure with the dissatisfaction acquired while seeking critical health-related information and the challenges faced when using mass media services in the region. The research will also educate journalists and presenters about the need of simplifying their remarks to the level of a normal layman, since the majority of ignorant individuals in rural areas also seek critical health information. Additionally, this research will convey to the government rural inhabitants’ grouses about the discontent and challenges they face while seeking critical health information. As a result, it will draw the government’s attention to the many methods to strengthen rural health broadcasting.

Additionally, this study will add to the existing body of knowledge in this subject and will act as a resource for academics, researchers, and students interested in doing future research on this or a related issue.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is structured to generally examine the challenges of mass media public health communication in rural communities. However, the study will further determine whether rural communities have adequate access to public health information through mass media, identify the factors mitigating against effective pubic health communication through mass media, and ascertain the opinions of rural residents on how those challenges can be remedied. The study will be carried out in Dekina, Kogi State.


1.7 Limitation of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Community:

A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion, values, customs, or identity.

Healthcare System:

The health care system refers to the institutions, people and resources involved in delivering health care to individuals. A health system consists of all organizations, people, and actions whose primary intent is to promote, restore, or maintain health such as hospital systems, patient care, insurance.

Health Communication:

This is the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decision that enhance health.

Mass Media:

This has been described as the organized means for communicating openly and at a distance, to many receivers within a short space of time.

Communication Effectiveness:

Effective Communication is defined as the ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently either with good verbal, nonverbal and written communication skills help facilitate the sharing of information between people within a company for its commercial benefit.


1.9 Organisations of the Study

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms.

The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, empirical review, and chapter summary. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration.

The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

In this study, our focus was on the challenges of mass media public health communication in rural communities using Umuoyo community, Nsukka, Enugu State as a case study.The study is was specifically carried out to determine whether rural communities have adequate access to public health information through mass media, identify the factors mitigating against effective pubic health communication through mass media, and ascertain the opinions of rural residents on how those challenges can be remedied.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 85 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent were residents of Umuoyo community, Nsukka, Enugu State.


5.2 Conclusion

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. Rural communities do not have adequate access to public health information through mass media.
  2. The factors mitigating against effective pubic health communication through mass media comprises of lack of adequate government support for the activities in the area of health campaigns, high cost of mobilizing the rural populace for positive health action, other of illiteracy and high cost of producing health programmes, lack of articulated communication policies on the implementation of community media in Nigeria, corruption in government circles affects the effectiveness of mass media health broadcasting, poor access to mass media appliance by community residents, poor audience coverage, and poor network signal.
  3. With regards to the challenges identified, rural residents opined that the various ways to remedy the challenges include; improvement of television/radio networks in rural communities, making mass media appliances affordable for low rural dwellers, mass media network should be made accessible across all rural environment, key officers should put a stop to using health issues to carryout political interest, all health related broadcast should be made in a language common among rural residents, and extension of network/Satellite infrastructures in rural communities.

5.3 Recommendation

With respect to the findings and the aim of this study, the researchers therefore recommend that;

  1. Key government officials needs to evolve a viable communication framework that would ensure a practical implementation of rural broadcasting in the country.
  2. All levels of government should stop paying lip service to the issue of corruption. The monster of corruption must be tacked, especially among government policy makers.
  3. Government and the private sector should establish viable community broadcast stations in the rural areas.
  4. Government at all levels and the private sector should provide adequate infrastructural facilities in the rural areas to improve the effectiveness of media services.

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