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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Communication is central to every human activity. The mass media are potent channels for communicating with or reaching a mass, heterogeneous, scattered and often transitory audience. Just as communication is indispensable in any human activity, the mass media, particularly radio broadcasting is very vital to the creation of awareness one health related issues, particularly when such health related issue have a lot to do with children who cannot easily identify or properly explain their body changes as a result of illness.
For children to be given adequate treatment and immunization against certain diseases that take their lives untimely, parents, particularly mothers needs to know about the existence of immunization porgrammes as well as to be adequately informed about the nature of the programmes meant to immunize their children against diseases. It is through such health programmes that women (mothers) know and understand the level of contribution required from, the merits and demerits of participating or not participating on such health programmes meant to immunize their wards against certain diseases.
According to Nwabueze (2005: 1) “The mass media are channels through which ideas experiences values or messages sought are shared with or relayed to a large heterogeneous, scattered audience”.
Radio is mass medium, it is said to have been used in reaching people without delay. That is, radio has the characteristic of commanding immediacy and acted upon by the listener. Radio broadcasting ought to be used in the education of women on immunization. This can be said to be of great importance for easy information on immunization and other related children health matters because, it (radio) makes use of local language, can easily be used to reach many people than other mass media as well as because of the fact that it is cost effective.
In this contribution to the role of broadcasting in public enlightenment, Effiong (1999: 6) states that “Radio and television services as major sources of information and enlightenment for the public … broadcast practical information for use in home making, shopping, family health, child rearing and upbringing”. Also, Effiong (Supra) citing Agba (1999:10) states that;
The media can help to remove resistance to innovations of development nature through public enlightenment .. that without people understanding and being involved, change is almost impossible to achieve.
It is clear from the above statement that mass participation of women on the issue of immunization will encourage efforts resulting from mass mobilization of the women by the media, particularly radio, which is an important broadcast arm of the mass media. In doing this, radio could be said to be a means to provide mobilization, sensitization, socialization and participation of women on the best way to approach and understand the concept of immunization of their children. Radio has many things in terms of advantages, roles and functions in helping to educate women in our urban areas on how to immunize their wards.
As Nwosu and Ukozor (2003: 67) point out “Radio breaks the barriers of distance, as its reach is amazingly wide and highly penetrating. Appeals to illiterate audiences as … news and programmes can be broadcast to them not just in their native languages but also in their local dialects.
It is based on the above made statement that the need to use radio to get urban women involved in the immunization issue as a health strategy meant to curb the spread of children’s diseases, becomes imperative.
Radio, health workers, the general public and other mass media, can unit to achieve the objectives for which the immunization programme is meant to achieve. As Okenwa (2002: 1) Opines, “Media exposure, media access, and media use are three distinct variables that can guarantee media impact which is at the very heart of development”. Radio seems to provide the opportunity for reaching women on the issue of immunization based on a careful logical and empirical approach.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
Many media consumers in Nigeria have made much assumption on the effectiveness of Radio broadcasting in educating Nigerian women on the National Immunization Programme (NIP). Some think that adequate coverage as well as awareness has not being made by the mass media in general and radio in particular on the programme.
Others think that radio as a socializing agent and as a mouth-piece of the society has done a lot in gathering and disseminating information on the immunization programme of the federal Government of Nigeria. It is such disparities in public opinion formation on the immunization programme that necessitates this type of study.
Also, a lot of people think that due to the fact that women, particularly child-bearing ones are not properly informed, sensitized, mobilized as well as socialized, the issue of child-immunization has not been fully understaood by them. Also, illiteracy and some other factors have inhibited their understanding of the programme and this has not helped them to maintain the routine for immunization and its schedule. Lack of reach, use of local dialect or mass medium that can be effectively used to educate women of the immunization programme as well as government ineptitude to maintain aggressive pursuit on the immunization are some of the assumptions, which have not encourage Nigerian women’s full participation and understanding of the immunization programme. These and other factors are responsible for the need for the researcher to systematically study how effective radio broadcasting can be as a medium for educating women on immunization.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study. They includes;
1) To determine if radio broadcasting is an effective means of educating Nigerian women on immunization.
2) To find out if radio broadcasting is better than other mass media in the mobilization of urban dwellers.
3) To determine whether illiteracy is a factors that hinders the understanding of urban women on immunization.
4) To find out if the National Immunization programme has succeeded in presenting diseases that attack child bearing age from spreading.
5) To determine whether radio programmes on immunization has been used to mobilize, sensitize and socialize Nigerian women on immunization.
6) To determine if federal government finances the immunization programme properly.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of great benefit to a good number of people among them are;
The study will benefit child-bearing women in Nigeria in general and Oru-East Urban in particular to enable them understand the best way to immunize their children and themselves for easy child-bearing and child-rearing. This study will also be of great benefit to health workers in Imo State particularly those who are charged with the responsibility of taking care of women and children.
It will also benefit both federal and Imo State governments to formulate good policies on immunization and other health related issues in Nigeria. Also, future researchers will benefit from this study as it will help them to cite cases and issues relating to the use of media, particularly radio in educating urban women on immunization.
Media practitioners particularly those that work in radio stations will benefit from this study as it will enable them to package their programmes on immunization and other health related issues properly.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Based on the objectives of this study, the researcher raised the following research questions. They include;
1) Is radio broadcasting an effective means of educating Nigerian women on immunization?
2) Does radio carry out objective coverage of the immunization programme in Oru-Esat Urban?
3) Does the National Immunization Program being used to prevent diseases that attack children and women in Oru-East from spreading?
4) Does the federal Government finance the immunization programme properly?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Based on the research questions asked, the following research hypotheses have been formulated. They are;
H1: Radio broadcasting is an effective means of educating Nigerian women on immunization.
Ho: Radio broadcasting is not an effective means of educating Nigerian women on immunization.
H2: Radio carry out objective coverage of the immunization programme in Imo state.
Ho: Radio does not carry out objective coverage of the immunization programme in Imo state.
H3: The National Immunization programme has been used to prevent diseases that attack children and women in Oru-East Urban from spreading.
Ho: The National Immunization programme has not been used to prevent diseases that attack children and women in Oru-East Urban from spreading.
H4: The Federal Government finances the immunization programme properly.
Ho: The Federal Government does not finance the immunization programme properly.
1.6 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The researcher used Agenda-setting theory to anchor this study on.
The Agenda setting theory is based on a study carried out by Walter Lippman in 1922 which stipulated that “the media are responsible for the pictures in our heads”. According to Ndolo (2006: 32) “Agenda setting theory explains the effects of mass communication on culture and society. It describes the powerful influence of the media, the ability to tell us what issues are important… that the media help put pictures in our heads”.
Agenda setting theory is relevant to this study because it helps to encourage women living in Oru-East urban to form their opinions on what constitutes the issue of immunization broadcast to them on radio.
It is in line with this that Griffin (1991: 332) states that “the mass media have the ability to transfer the salient of items on their news agenda to the public agenda. In otherwords, news broadcasts from radio and other contents f the medium are used by urban women in Oru-East to form their individual and collective opinions on how best to go about the immunization programme of the Federal Government.
Also, Ndolo (earlier cited) writing about Agenda-setting states that; “… in 1972, Mc Combs and Shaw wrote that; audiences not only learn about public issue and other matters through the media, they also learn how much importance to attach to an issue or topic from the emphasis that mass media place upon them.” It is in line with this ascersion that the issue of immunization is given prominence on radio in order to enable urban women in Imo State to be educated on the routine immunization schedule and other forms of guildlines which will encourage to be enlightened on immunization.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will cover all the health centers in Oru-Easy such as Umuago health center, Urualla health center, Amanato, Ikpa and others, also, the study will cover media houses, particularly those operating in Imo State and with special attention to Heartland Fm Radio Station. It will cover women in Imo Urban as well as health workers in Imo state. Also, the public in Imo urban constitute the scope of this study.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Amongst the limitations of the study are inadequate fund to procure some of the research implements needed for this study.
Inadequate time, unavailability of basic infrastructures such as, motorable roads, electricity or power failure and the inability of some respondents to give out information to the researcher on the topic under study.
Despite these limitations, the researcher was able to make proper use of the available research instruments for validity and reliability.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The major terms that formed the topic of this study were defined conceptually and operationally. The conceptual definitions are the dictionary meanings whereas the operational definitions are the working meanings they include;
Conceptual Definition: Having the desired effect producing the intended result.
Operational Definition: That which enables women in Oru-East to be educated on immunization programme at the Federal Government.
Conceptual Definition: A piece of equipment or electronic device used for gathering and disseminating information on a number of issues going on in the society.
Operational Definition: Equipment and device used together and dissemination information on the immunization porgramme to women in Oru-East.
Conceptual Definition: Source of information and news, such as a newspaper, a magazine, a radio set etc. that reach and influence large number of people irrespective of their demographies.
Operational Definition: The Use of a radio set broadcast content to educate urban women in Imo State on Immunization.
Conceptual Definition: Teaching, training, and making information available to people on a wide range of issues concerning the society.
Operational Definition: The ability of radio broadcasting to be used in the teaching or information of Oru-East women on the immunization programme.
WOMEN IN ORU-EAST
Conceptual Definition: The feminine gender of human beings living in rural areas.
Operational Definition: The feminine gender of human beings who are thought on the immunization programme in Oru-East rural areas.
Conceptual Definition: To protect a person or an animal from a disease, especially by giving them an injection of a vaccine.
Operational Definition: Processes involved in educating women in Oru-East how to protect themselves and their children from diseases by giving them vaccine and how to use them to prevent such diseases.
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