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The exhibit from the world’s largest collection of public heath posters housed in

the National Library of Medicine (United States) reveals the potential of posters as

effective medium for communicating information about disease, identifying risk

factors, and promoting behavioral change. By examining the history and function

of public health posters, the exhibit suggests that social, biological, and cultural

factors have collectively influenced the design of public health campaigns

throughout the preceding century (Boyle, 2003).

Due to the many qualities posters have, public health campaigners are encouraged

to use them as powerful medium for visually communicating knowledge about

disease, and for promoting changes in behavior. In the process, poster designers

developed a visual vocabulary to help shape and define “normal “and “healthy” behaviors and conditions which has provided the basis for a variety of campaigns

against infections diseases and environmental health hazards (Boyle, 2003,2).

Statement of the problem

This study intends to analyse how effectively hospital health posters in selected Abuja hospitals communicate health message. In other words, it looks in to whether the poster are designed in a way the audience understands them. It also explores the strategy presently employed by hospitals communication unit in designing health messages.

Posters and posters are believed to play vital role for people to gain awareness

and control over factors that influence their basic needs. Concerning this visual

aids, Starrs and Rizzuto (1995, 1) state “experience has shown that, a welldesigned

campaign can change people’s knowledge, attitudes and behavior” (Starrs and Rizzuto, 1995, 1). They also emphasize that effective campaigns begin through research to find out what people currently know, believe and do.

Particular attention needs to be paid in designing posters and posters especially

for a society where reading culture is not vastly developed. Many people doubt the quality of health posters and posters produced in Abuja. Most of these visual materials seem to be produced on impulse rather than assessing audience’s background and involving target audience. So their effectiveness is also doubtful. Though initiatives have been taken to curb health problems (like the spread of HIV) little has been done to certain the impact of these posters and posters on bringing awareness and promoting behavior change.

1.3 Objective of the study

1.3.1 General Objective

This paper would be designed as a pragmatic analysis the effectiveness of hospital’s posters in creating awareness and promoting behavior change. In other words, the general objective of the study is to investigate if message is clearly communicated in a way the target audience perceives.

1.3.2 Specific Objective

More specifically the study attempts to see the following objectives:

1.     To draw attention to use visual images in health promotion both to aid in creating awareness and in promoting behavior change.

2.     To asses knowledge, attitude and perception of patience in relation to visual images

3.     To assess the poster designing process undertaken by hospitals: whether the pre and post-production process involves the target audience or not.

4.     To identify gaps and draw lessons in relation to health posters designing process.

1.3.3 Research Questions

All the undertaking of this study is finally expected to show how effectively

message is communicated through hospitals’s posters. To this end; the study

answers the following basic questions based on a framework for making public

awareness posters by Bowers (1981).

• Is the channel preferable by the community?

• Does the image represent the caption?

• Does the message stimulate emotions?

• Is the message clear and easy to understand?

• Is the message target specific?

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study would promote the utilization of posters and posters for the

purpose of message transmission. It is believed to contribute towards generating

guidelines necessary for further improvement of poster production to bring about

the expected result.

This study would promote the significance of empowering people to participate in any

development work through participatory communication. It enables the society to

influence the decision-making processes of formulating and implementing

products and programs intended to satisfy their needs and solve their problems.

The society will benefit if messages are transmitted to them in a way they

understand best, thus creating awareness and promoting behavior change.

This research has significance to communication planners and message designers

as well. It helps them to examine and act upon the strength and weakness of their

message transmission skill. For hospitals too, this study is important because it

enhances message-designing skill of communication planners and health workers.

1.5 Scope of the Study

The paper intends to examines the effectiveness of hospital’s posters in communicating

health messages. However this study does not include the recently produced

Hospital’s posters since they came out after the data for this research has

already been gathered.

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