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The study examine the uses of indigenous media for health communication in olamaboro local government area of Kogi State Nigeria, it also examine the effectiveness of indigenous media in delivering and promoting health related issues among the rural dwellers in Olamaboro Local government. The aim of the study was to find out the role/the existing indigenous media of communication used for health information in Olamaboro. The study was anchored on two theories which are democratic participant theory and development media theory. The study adopts the survey research method while questionnaire was used as instrument for gathering information. The researcher also uses multi-stage sampling technique to select respondents from the population of 340 respondents. Findings from the research shows that the indigenous media of communication played a crush role in the dissemination of health information in Olamaboro and it is effective in delivery and promoting health information. Based on the findings, the researcher concludes that that indigenous media of communication is effective in disseminating and delivering health related information in Olamaboro Local Government area of Kogi state. The researcher recommended that the modern media should be used in conjunction with the indigenous media of communication to disseminate health information and use the various indigenous media which rural people are familiar with. This will give room for participatory communication among the rural dwellers and improve their health related problem.
1.1. Background to the Study
Communication is a process by which information is passed between individuals. It is the system of passing information, ideas, messages, and feelings between two or more people through previously agreed language, code or symbols (Asemah, 2011, p.1).
Communication involve different forms which includes the intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, public, mass communication, and the indigenous (traditional media) etc. all these were different means of communication through which information is passed across, we interact, associate, relate, share ideas, views opinion, norms and values with one and others. Communication is regarded as the life blood of human existence which rapidly enhances unity that leads to the development of our society at large.
Indigenous Communication has promoted peaceful existence, understanding and self-awareness among human beings in the rural areas, this communication system has basic elements that together help define the communication process in the rural areas. In indigenous media of communication, things are done simultaneously (sending and receiving). To be able to achieve our goals of communicating through indigenous media, it simply signifies that, it should be an effective communication between the sender and the receiver at the same level.
There is no communication without a message being passed across. Marshal McLuhan once said that “the medium is the message”. This means the message we disseminate pass through a medium before it can be received by the receiver.
Several scholars have identified indigenous media as important tools for successful public health campaigns in a rural area because it’s effective to “create and deliver the appropriate messages, and also help in tailoring this message towards the health status of the people” (Creating effective health messages).
Health communication is defined as the study and use of communication Strategies to inform, influence, and motivate individuals, institutions, and communities in making effective decisions to improve health and enhance quality of life (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2005). Considering this wide scope of health communication, scholars, practitioners, and policy makers recognize the significance of health communication to public health.
According to Asemah (2012), mass media campaigns are widely used to expose high proportions of large populations to messages through routine uses of existing media, such as television, radio and newspapers. Sharma (n.d) avers that the media’s demand for information has grown exponentially in the last few years. People are interested in information to what happen around them and as it concerned their health status.
However, health communicators and practitioners require the understanding of how effective is the indigenous media in planning public health messages and its interventions (Dooley, Jones and Desmarais 2009). Communication is the exchange of ideas and each society has its own communication media to reach its people. Every culture and community should not be passed by; hence the interest in studying Olamaboro local government to see their indigenous communication media for both health and general development will become imperative.
In communication there must be individuals who are involved in the dissemination of the message and at the same time receiving the message in order to make it lively and effective.
Communication has a variety of functions in our lives based on our daily activities; communication helps us to create an understanding and insight. It allows us to understand ourselves and others at the same time. Create an insight into oneself and others. This is because when you get to know another person you get to know yourself; you learn how others affect you. Communication also helps us to create meaningful relationship between one person and another; this level of communication determines the relationship with others. Just as human beings need water, food and shelter, so also, we need to communicate and become oriented of issues around us.
One way of achieving this is through the utilization of indigenous communication media in conjunction with the modern mass media.
The desires of information about people and events, the satisfaction of news hunger stimulated by war or rumour of war, the necessity to spread information about political and health condition of the people should be taken care of as well as decisions on the threats to security of life in the rural area, the need to stimulate and strengthen the sense of identification with values and objectives of the society, creating awareness by the authority, all these were carried out by the indigenous media of communication in a given community.
Similarly, reviving our culture is necessary because it will enhance overall national development of our indigenous media as channels of communication. Communication is the exchange of ideas and each society has its own communication media to reach its people. Every community should not be passed by; hence the interest in studying Olamaboro local government to see their communication systems will become imperative.
Different communication scholars have come up with various studies in African traditional media of communication which were unfortunately treated at the periphery in the past. The negligence was caused by lack of foresight, lack of fund, man power and interest. The studies of indigenous communication are now necessary because of the need to reduce the over concentration of the media on the urban areas in the country neglecting the rural areas.
Every societal growth, survival and continuity depends on and among other things, a system of communication through which people could exchange ideas and feelings; an economic system, the production of goods and services, a health system to counteract diseases and ensure human reproduction; a social political system to maintain, control and order and a defense system to protect their territories against external aggression all these are essential requirements of society, this system of communication formed the mainstay of all other systems, which depends on its effectiveness. It is in line with this that the researcher investigates the use of indigenous media for health communication in Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Using indigenous media for health communication, when delivered effectively, has a considerable potential to promote the health of individuals, communities, and populations. These mediated messages are more likely to be successful and increase the health knowledge, attitudes, behaviour, practice and policy. The importance of using indigenous media for health communication is to enhance rural based media on communication and development. Thus, the indigenous communication media are effective means of disseminating information to the rural people about what transpired in the community and issues related to their health.
Judging from the failure of many rural development efforts to produce the desired effects, it is clear that there are defects in the communication processes embodied in those efforts especially when modern media, instead of indigenous media is introduced into such rural communities. It therefore, becomes pertinent to ask the following question: what is the role of indigenous media in information dissemination? To what extent are indigenous communication channels used for health communication in Olamaboro? Therefore, the problem this study investigates is the extent to which indigenous media of communication are used for health communication in Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State.
1.3. Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are to:
1. Identify the existing indigenous media of communication in Olamaboro.
2. Identify the use of indigenous media for health communication in Olamaboro local government.
3. Identify the role of indigenous media of communication.
4. Determine how indigenous media of communication can be used to deliver and promote health information effectively in Olamaboro Local Government of Kogi State.
1.4. Research Questions
The following questions have been designed to guide this study:
1. What are the existing indigenous media in Olamaboro local government?
2. What are the uses of indigenous media in Olamaboro local government?
3. What role does indigenous media of communication play in the disseminating of information in Olamaboro local government?
4. Can indigenous media of communication be used to deliver and promote health information effectively in rural areas?
1.5. Significance of the Study
This study will be a great contribution towards the development of indigenous media of communication in Olamaboro local government. It will also serve as a source of information on how the rural dwellers can use the indigenous and modern mass media of communication for passing information in the community on health-related issues.
This study will encourage the general public on the study of indigenous media of communication and finally, it will serve as a guide to others who want to know and understand how the indigenous media of communication are used for rural health development campaign.
1.6. Scope of the Study
The study is restricted to the use of indigenous media of communication for health communication in Olamaboro local government Area of Kogi State. The reason for choosing Olamaboro Local Government is to show how effective is indigenous media in disseminating information in various communities in Olamaboro.
Olamaboro is a local government in Kogi East Senatorial Districts, formally it was under Ankpa local government but in 1993 Olamaboro was separated from Ankpa to be an independent local government which has its headquarter or secretariat in Okpo. Olamaboro local government is located along Ankpa-Otukpa road, Olamaboro share boundary with Enugu, and Benue.
The people of Olamaboro are well known in their faming system, Olamaboro local government consists of five local districts which include Okpo Districts, Igah districts, Imane District, Ogugu District, Unyi Ogugu Districts and Eteh District. All this districts has several communities and villages. There are some areas of the local government area that was dominated by people from the neighboring states like Benue and Enugu.
1.7. Definitions of Terms
The following terms are hereby defined:
Communication: Communication is a process by which information is passed between individuals. It’s the system of passing information, ideas, messages, feelings, etc. between two or more people through previously agreed language, code or symbols. It is also the process by which we exchange our ideas, views, opinion, norms, values, traditions, beliefs etc. from one person to another through a medium.
Health Communication: is the study and use of communication Strategies to inform, influence, and motivate individuals, institutions, and communities in making effective decisions to improve health and enhance quality of life.
Information: Fact, details, or knowledge provided or learned about something or somebody. Having knowledge of something.
Indigenous: It means the people’s way of life; the common belief of the people living in a particular geographical area.
Indigenous Communication System: it is a system used in the primitive age through which information is passed to the people in the community. It is a credible and acceptable channel of communication utilized by the rural dwellers for various functions including disseminating of messages.
Media: media are all the organization such as television, newspaper, Magazines or all other forms through which people interact and get information for the public.
Medium: is a channel through which message is sent to the receiver, it is a medium through which signals, waves or forces pass.
Rural Area: A remote area in the country, city where people are dwelling with their common belief and value, n underdeveloped area where people are living with a common norm.
Study: looking or watching at something (object or subject) in order to find or discover something.
Uses: is a purpose for which something may be employed.
Adams, L., Amos, M., & Munro, J. (2002). Promoting health communication, politics and practice. London: Sage Publication
Asemah, E. S. (2011). Principles and practice of mass communication. Jos:
Great Future press.
Asemah, E. S. (2011). Selected media themes. Jos: University Press. Nigeria.
Bernhardt, J. M., & Cameron, K. A. (2014). Communicating health through the media of communication and applying health communication messages: the challenges of health literacy. In: R, Ahmed and Bates, B.R (Eds). In Handbook of health communication. New York, Gower publisher, pp, 19-32.
Okunna, S. (2002). Teaching mass communication: A multi-dimensional approach Enugu: News Generation Books.
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