THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN HIV PREVENTION: A CASE STUDY OFGARI MUNA FATA

THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN HIV PREVENTION: A CASE STUDY OFGARI MUNA FATA

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ABSTRACT

Kaduna state with a prevalence rate of 7 % has consistently recorded higher HIV prevalence than the national average over the past 19 years . The prevalence rate varies from one locality to another, with Kafanchan having as high as 17.7%. Risky behavior (unprotected sex in non marital relationship) accounts for over 80% of new infections. The response to reduce the spread of the virus has improved over time with the government of the state, local and international partners committing huge resources to promote appropriate behaviours that would reduce the spread of the virus. Gari Muna Fata, a Radio drama programme is one of the interventions being implemented in the state to promote safe sex behaviours. While the programme has been aired over the past 8 years, very limited evidence exists to show the effect of this communication strategy on HIV prevention in Kafanchan. Thus the overall objective of this study is to determine the effect of mass media communication on prevention of HIV infection among men and women of reproductive age in Kafanchan using Gari Muna Fata as a case study. The study which will be limited to men and women of reproductive age will use both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Qualitative data will be collected using structured focused group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews (IDIs) among targeted groups while quantitative data will be sourced from secondary sources. Descriptive analysis will be used to present result findings. In order to frame the study’s analysis, the historical background of the HIV situation in Nigeria, the socio–cultural factors and the prevention strategy, are examined to provide the necessary materials for the study.

CHAPTER ONE

1.0 Introduction

The modern age of communication is generally considered to date from the

invention of printing. While this assumption is legitimate, two reservations must

be made. First, it is important to note that the technique of multiple production by

printing images appeared almost 21st C with the publication of newspapers, books,

posters, etc. Secondly, the impact of this invention was at first more particular in

promoting the spread and proliferation of knowledge and ideas (through books)

than in developing mass information (Unesco,1980:6). More recently, the rising

electronic media became an important feature in the emergence and growth of

communication media which to a large extent is electrically driven. Therefore, as

modern societies accelerate development of new resources, technique and

technological devices in communication, particularly for transmitting and

receiving signals and messages, the invention of these electronic media became a

feature of life in the society. It offers it audiences with entertainment, information

and education in a cheap and convenient form.The media,especially television and

film make a powerful impression by enabling viewers to see events as they

actually occur and at same time shape the popular perception of realities including

the realities of distant societies (Fiske, 1987:13). It is therefore observed that the

advent of media and their presence in our daily lives have been one of the major

features of the contemporary world.

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The term media is often used interchangeably with mass communication.

Mass communication is seen to comprise the institutions and techniques by which

specialized groups employ technological devices, press, television, radio etc. to

disseminate symbolic contents to large heterogeneous and widely dispersed

audiences, (Janowif, 1968). Underlining this definition, mass communication is

taken to mean, the means of transmitting information from the sender to the

receiver as well as passing knowledge and experiences of an individual or group to

another. Mass media on the other is seen as the organised technologies which

make mass communication possible, that is, the dissemination of information,

knowledge, and idea to large groups (McQuail 1994:10). Marshal McLuhan sees

the media more broadly as “extension of the organisation outside itself”. This in

effect means that media extends the human capacity to share and process

information in the form of data, images, ideas and even feelings and therefore

transmit to the receiving audience.

The successive development of media forms affects virtually every

dimension of human social and personal life, as well as human ecology and

creating new forms of cultural expression. In essence, they have the ability to

create and shape perceptions and ideas (Greame,1993:46). So media no longer act

simply as devices, organised institutions or neutral carriers of ideas, but are also

the source of the ideas and meanings. (Steven, 2003:17).        There     are     many

media forms in contemporary society. These include: radio, television, internet,

newspapers, cinema, the new media of mobile phones etc. However, among all

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these forms, there are several characteristics they hold in common. They are:

producers and distributors of news, entertainment and information. They engage in

the handling of sophisticated technology of recording, distribution and reception.

They distribute their news to very large and socially diverse audiences whose

individual members are usually unknown to each other. The institutions are not

simply companies or government agencies but complex organisations with


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