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The level of women’s access to information on health issues is rather low in rural communities and, therefore, women are seen as vulnerable to different forms of health hazard. In spite of the relentless effort and huge sunk sum, of money into women’s health programmes in Nigeria, the knowledge of rural women in northern Nigeria on health related issues appears to be on the decline. This study Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) investigated the nature and effectiveness of communication Nigeria, the knowledge of rural women in northern Nigeria on health related issues strategies adopted by PPFN on women reproductive health in Unguwan Muazu, Kaduna State with the following objectives: (i) to investigate the communication channels used by PPFN to sensitize women on reproductive health; (ii) to examine specific reproductive health issues and how they are addressed by PPFN; (iii) to identify challenges faced by PPFN in sensitizing women on reproductive health and (iv) to make suggestions on how communication approaches can be more effectively used in sensitizing women on reproductive health. Health Belief Model (HBM), developed by Becker in 1974 from the work of Rosenstock (1966) was the underpinning theoretical framework for the study. Survey research design was used and simple random sampling technique was used to draw population sample of 169 women who attended or benefited from the use of PPFN services within the period of study in Unguwan Muazu, Kaduna State. In-depth interview (IDI) was also conducted with staff of PPFN in Kaduna State to generate additional data. From the data analysis, it was established that PPFN deployed radio, television, community dialogue, information, education and communication materials (IEC) and women group meetings as strategies for communicating reproductive health to women in Unguwan Muazu community in Kaduna State. It was discovered that in order to increase the effectiveness of the communication approaches used by PPFN, there was need to increase radio programmes on reproductive health, advocacy visits to women groups/associations as well as to organize sensitization programmes for both men and women on the benefits of reproductive health. The study concluded that a blend of conventional media and traditional media can boost communication in rural and semi-urban areas, especially on health related issues of which reproductive health is a part.
GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1.3 Background to the study
Communication and health are interwoven; that is to say that separating health and
communication is a work in futility. The realization of this all important mix results in a healthy
inter-dependence between communication and health. Despite the inseparability, it seems that
many people are still deprived of basic information on certain health issues, especially on
reproductive health. It, therefore, means that knowledge and information is important to healthy
living. A popular adage holds that if you think knowledge is expensive, try ignorance.’’ A state
of not knowing is one which is not desirable for anyone and is more devastating when a woman
does not know. This is because as one of the first teachers of children from home, she is most
likely to transfer this ignorance to her offspring and then this can results more ignorant women
and men in the society. The African continent is blessed with abundant natural, human and
cultural resources yet, Africans remain poor and most of the poor Africans are women. About
half of the world’s population is women who are ideally supposed to contribute half of the
world’s economic, social and political input (Nwiro, 2012). Similarly, other studies confirm that
many women live in ignorance, poverty and with little hope of getting to know what is
happening to their health (Galandanci, Ejembi, Iliyasu, Alagh, and Umar, Mpembeni, 2007).
By the same token, the benefits of good health spread beyond a single healthy
generation. This is particularly important for the poor as they tend to have more children and
fewer resources to invest in the education and health of each child. However, when it is possible
to spread better healthcare and education, most likely, family size declines. Consequently,
children are more likely to escape the cognitive and physical impact of childhood diseases and
they are likely to do better in school. These children in such an ideal situation are less likely to
suffer disability and impairment in later life and so, are less likely to face costly medical
expenses and are more likely to achieve their earning potential. Then, as healthy adults, they
have more resources to invest in the care, health and education of their own children according to
a proposal by UNICEF (2007).
According to United Nations (2007), the current high-level focus on health by the
international community recognizes this strong relationship between poverty and health. Three of
the eight Millennium Development Goals call for specific health improvements by 2015:
reducing child deaths, reducing maternal mortality and slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria
and tuberculosis. Moreover, health is increasingly viewed as fundamental to the first Millennium
Development Goal and eradication of poverty and extreme hunger. This is partly due to the work
of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (CMH) which demonstrated the link between
health and economic development. Governments and the private sector came together to
establish a Global Fund on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Tuberculosis(TB)
and Malaria in 2002. In 2003, the G8 countries (France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan,
United States, Canada, Russia) reaffirmed their commitment to improve the health of poor
people and to make available the necessary resources.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have sought to find ways and means of
empowering women in order to assist them to stand up for themselves and achieve better health
condition. The strategic roles of NGOs to provide access to information (ATI) to Nigerian
women, is the process of empowering them to do the right thing towards improving their health
status (Germmill and Abimbola, 2002).
Adequate health care services are essential for the health of communities. To meet basic
needs, health care providers must be able to respond to all parts of th
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