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This study examined the communication strategies used by Society for Family Health (SFH) on Maternal and Child Health (MCH) in Makarfi and Sabon Gari Local Government Areas in Kaduna State. The aim of the study is to assess the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the communication strategies used by SFH for maternal and child health. The study adopted Health Belief Model (HBM) and Protection Motivation Theory (PMT). Data was collected using Focus Group Discussion (FGD), Key Informant Interview (KII) and Questionnaires. 4 KIIs and 9 FGDs were conducted on SFH staff and pregnant women/nursing mothers respectively, while 45 questionnaires were distributed to health workers in the selected health facilities covered by SFH. Probability and non-probability sampling technique were adopted; the simple random sampling was used in selecting 9 PHCs in Makarfi and Sabon- Gari LGA and 4 key informants from Society for Family Health were purposively selected for the key informant interviewed. The data was analysed using the descriptive statistics and percentage frequency distribution table. Findings show that the Communication Strategies used by SFH are interpersonal communication, mass media, posters, antenatal visits, and women and men meetings. Also, the research reveals that these strategies are effective as the women have attested to the fact that they now practice exclusive breastfeeding, attend antenatal, do family planning and many other components of Maternal and Child Health (MCH). Based on the findings the study recommends that there should be constant repetition of the different MCH messages through various strategies especially interpersonal communication which the women prefer.
1.1 Background to the Study
Communication is at the centre of any development activity. It cuts across various
spheres of human endeavors such as health, agriculture, education, infrastructure, among others.
Communication has become an indispensable tool used in pooling ideas across all divides, aimed
at promoting an enduring environment for humanity. For this reason, it is considered a
transactional process, such that all the stakeholders involved in any development are brought
together to achieve a definite goal. One key area of communication for development is health – a
situation described by WHO as ―a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and
not merely the absence of disease or infirmity‖. Communication in this context is considered as
goal-driven, since all the relevant stakeholders of health are involved in decision making towards
effective health delivery system in the society.
One of the areas of interest in communication for health development is ‗maternal and
child health‘ – one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United
Nations to be accomplished by 2015. The United Nations set this as priority with a view to
promoting healthy living among the vulnerable groups in the society. As Adeniran (2009)
recalls, their vow was to ―spare no effort to free women and children from the de-humanising
The health of women and children has been a priority to the Nigeria government for the
past two decades. While motherhood is often a positive and fulfilling experience, for too many
women, it is associated with ill health and even death (Olatoye, 2009) in Ogunjimi (2012).
According to World Health Organisation (2003), more than 25, 000 children in Nigeria, die
every day and every minute a woman dies as a result of childbirth related complications. It also
records that worldwide, every year, about 500,000 women die due to child birth and over
9million children under age five die mostly from preventable and treatable diseases and everyday
in 2015, about 830 women die due to complications of pregnancy and child birth (WHO, 2017).
Merson (2006) opines that Nigeria ranks second in the world behind India, in terms of the
maternal mortality ratio and ranks eighth in sub-saharan Africa among seven other countries.
Merson (2006) also conducted a research that supported the need for an increased response in
maternal health care and advocacy campaign to focus the public, Non-Governmental
Organization (NGO) and policy attention on the issue of maternal health in Nigeria.
This is why this research is focused on an assessment of the effectiveness or
ineffectiveness of the Society for Family Health (SFH) (NGO) communication strategies to
improve maternal and child health in Kaduna State. A statement in 2007 by Northern State
Governors Forum in Nigeria, declared their commitment for free maternal and child health
programmes in their respective states with the aim of reducing the alarming maternal mortality
rate in Nigeria. Kaduna State happens to be among these states. In 2006, the scheme FREE
MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH SERVICES, guided by a policy document and
transitional operational guideline, 26 state governments-owned and local government-owned
hospitals, 113 primary health care facilities participated in the programme in which about
184,783 pregnant women benefited. Apart from the efforts of the federal government, NGO‘s
(USAID, UNICEF e.t.c) have also made effort towards the MDG goal of improving maternal
and child health. More so on the 17th January 2017 Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) announced
its $10 million commitment to the Global financing facility in support of every woman and child
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