An Evaluation Of Radio Programmes As A Tool For Empowering Nursing Mothers In The Fight Against Infant Mortality

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An Evaluation Of Radio Programmes As A Tool For Empowering Nursing Mothers In The Fight Against Infant Mortality


Abstract


This study is an attempt to shed light on the role of radio programmes as a tool for empowering nursing mothers in the fight against infant mortality in Kaduna state. The study adopted the method of triangulation that include content analysis, survey method of questionnaires, participatory observation and interview to achieve its objectives. Radio as a blind medium of mass communication is a veritable tool of change and development when considering its wide reach and the simplistic nature of radio sets. As such, it allows for other activities while paying limited attention to it and yet the messages can be clearly decoded and understood by the listeners, particularly in rural areas because of its popularity, cheapness and can operate easily on ordinary dry cell batteries without electricity.

Therefore, relevant research literature was reviewed to provide an insight into the role of radio in the quest for empowerment amongst nursing mothers. This led to the adoption of the development media theory, which is founded on the tenets that the mass media should be used as a tool to advance the overall goals of development in every society


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background To The Study

Effective communication is only possible where the correct message is disseminated to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. The importance of radio broadcasting is growing from strength to strength because it is a tool of mobilizing, sensitizing, educating, informing and entertaining the mass of its listening audience in and across the globe.

Radio broadcasting according to Adamu (2006) cited in Okpoko (2012:62) “is the most universal form of mass communication”. In Africa, cheap transistor radio set have brought the oral tradition over the air wave to millions of rural African villages, towns and cities thereby breaking the barrier of illiteracy and poverty of information among Africans.

Katz (1976), adds that “the impact and the role that radio plays in the development of any society is for societal overall development, integration and safeguard which cut across all the facets of its socio-cultural existence”. This was corroborated by Nwuneli (1985) that “radio accompanied with sound effects played an important role of information and mass mobilization of the public about the effect of spinal meningitis and cholera epidemic in Nigeria”. Schramm (1964) adds that “the most impressive demonstration of the impact of radio was in mass mobilizing the public to participate in the real act of democratic governance”.

However, community radio in its reach to the people is a veritable tool and for this reason, is considered for taking awareness message and health related issues to the millions of people who live and work in different communities (Moemeka 1986). Effective communication with the community people and their active participation in the programmes that affect them is essential for every community.

Through proactive and pragmatic radio programmes that are carefully designed, produced and packaged with the socio-cultural patterns of the community taken into consideration, it would go a long way in empowering nursing mothers in the fight against infant mortality, particularly in Kaduna state.

Radios are effective mechanisms to increase access in the developing world because they are inexpensive, have broad coverage, and sometimes battery-powered, and no literacy is required to operate them. At least 75 percent of the world‟s population is within “easy access” of some form of broadcast technology, primarily radios (Mefalopulos 2008:193).

However, one of the Millennium Development Goals is the reduction of infant mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015. Thus, Mojekwu & Ajijola (2011:164), observes that “progress in infant mortality reduction remains unacceptable in Sub-Saharan Africa; with special reference to Nigeria, the giant of Africa”. Available statistics suggest that infant mortality levels continue to be high and exhibit wide geographic disparities. This was corroborated by Ladipo (2009:11), who reveals that “the northern part of Nigeria has generally worse indicators and is also the region where polio has proven most difficult to control”. Poverty and inadequate knowledge is another factor that contributes to the disparity. Ejike (2012:26) states that “in the north, poverty ranges about 70%, while in the south it ranges between 25% in the southeast to about 35% in the southwest. For a little analysis: between the northeast and the northwest, there is little disparity of about seven percentage points in terms of poverty reduction (op cit).


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