THE ROLE OF BROADCASTING ON HEALTH COMMUNICATION FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

THE ROLE OF BROADCASTING ON HEALTH COMMUNICATION FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Author by Dr. Clementina Chinemere Anasui

Journal/Publisher: Topical Issues In Literacy, Language And Development In Nigeria

Volume/Edition: 1

Language: English

Pages: 434 - 445

Abstract

Walter Lipman [1922], propounded the ‘Agenda-setting theory’ argues that the Mass Media creates images of events in our minds and that policy-makers should be cognizant of those ‘pictures in people’s heads. Cohen [1963] also notes that the press may not be successful most of the times in telling people what to think, but is stunningly successful in telling people what to think about. Thus the Media shape not direct opinions about a topic but rather the very topics that were seen as important enough to have opinions about. For example, individuals watching the news on Television or reading Newspaper would agree that abortion, Aids, Bird-flu, and SARS are important issues of the day. The theory implies that the Mass Media pre-determine what issues are regarded as important at given time in a given society. It also ascribe to the Media, not only the power to determine what we are actually thinking, but it does ascribe to them the power to determine what we are thinking about. The elements involved in this theory include: the quantity or frequency of reporting of such issues, the prominence given to the reports through headline display, pictures and layout in newspapers or timing on radio and television. Therefore, agenda-setting is the process whereby the news Media would lead the public in assigning relative importance to various issues which could be health- oriented.

Nigeria as a case study has no state -supported welfare system. Instead, most people rely on their extended families in difficult times and in old age.

Medical care is provided for government and commercial enterprises, but it is wanting among the rest of the population. Despite several attempts at reform, many Nigerians still lack access to primary health care, largely because the great majority of treatment centers are located in large cities. Facilities are often under staffed and under equipped. “The result has been an infant mortality rate of 99 per 1,000 births and a life expectancy of 47 years. Malaria is the leading cause of death and is likely to remain so, due to the growing resistance both of the malarial parasite to drugs as well as of the mosquito, which transmits malaria, to insecticides. Other preventable ills that the government has been unable to halt include mealses, whooping cough, polio, cerebrospinal meningitis, gasto enteritis, diarrhea, tuberculosis, bronchitis, waterborne infectious diseases such as schistosomiasis, and sexually transmitted infections such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS] is becoming more and more prevalent. In 2003, 3.6 million Nigerians were estimated to be infected with HIV and 170,000 Nigerians died of AIDS” [Alfred A. & Joseph k. 2006].

Therefore, Health care delivery is a human activity and it should be reported as such. Unless the community gets involved in its delivery, it cannot succeed. The involvement must result in a change of attitudes and practices; they must identify their health needs based on an understanding of their health problems and act to rectify them.


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