AN ASSESSMENT OF THE BROADCAST MEDIA IN THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST MALARIA IN RURAL COMMUNITY
1.1. BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the plasmodium type. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomitting and headaches. In severe cases, it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma or death. Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten. If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later. In those who have recently survived an infection, reinfection usually causes milder symptoms. This partial resistance disappears over months to years if the person has no continuing exposure to malaria.
The disease is most commonly transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito bite introduces the parasites from the mosquito's saliva into a person's blood (Beare, 2011). The parasites travel to the liver where they mature and reproduce. Five species of Plasmodium can infect and be spread by humans. Most deaths are caused by P. falciparum because P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae generally cause a milder form of malaria (Hartman, 2010). The species P. knowlesi rarely causes disease in humans. Malaria is typically diagnosed by the microscopic examination of blood using blood films, or with antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests. Methods that use the polymerase chain reaction to detect the parasite's DNA have been developed, but are not widely used in areas where malaria is common due to their cost and complexity (Collins, 2012).
According to Aguwa (2009) malaria kills a child somewhere in the world every minute. It infects approximately 219 million people each year (range 154 – 289 million), with an estimated 660,00 deaths, mostly children in Africa. Ninety percent of malaria deaths occur in Africa, where malaria accounts for about one in six of all childhood deaths. The disease also contributes greatly to anaemia among children a major cause of poor growth and development. (AbouZahr, 2009).
Malaria infection during pregnancy is associated with severe anaemia and other illness in the mother and contributes to low birth weight among newborn infants one of the leading risk factors for infant mortality and sub-optimal growth and development, Aguwa (1990). Malaria has serious economic impacts in Africa, slowing economic growth and development and perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty. Malaria is truly a disease of poverty afflicting primarily the poor who tend to live in malaria-prone rural areas in poorly-constructed dwellings that offer few, if any, barriers against mosquitoes.
Malaria is both preventable and treatable, and effective preventive and curative tools have been developed. Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by protists (a type of microorganism) of the genus Plasmodium. It begins with a bite from an infected female Anopheles mosquito, which introduces the protists through saliva into the circulatory system.
In the blood, the protists travel to the liver to mature and reproduce. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, which in severe cases can progress to coma or death. The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions in a broad band around the equator, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Five species of Plasmodium can infect and be transmitted by humans. The vast majority of deaths are caused by P. falciparum and P. vivax, while P. ovale, and P. malariae cause a generally milder form of malaria that is rarely fatal. The zoonotic species P. knowlesi, prevalent in Southeast Asia, causes malaria in macaques but can also cause severe infections in humans.
Most importantly, a clear and specific mention was given to malaria owning to its level of deadliness and the pace at which the parasite is laying waste to the rural areas of the world most especially the developing countries. This demonstrates that attempts to combat malaria are efforts toward the growth of whatever countries affected. In addressing the problems of issues of public health in general, it has long been seen that the situation of print media and communications cannot be overemphasized.
One of the foremost importance’s of the broadcasting medium or the mass media. In view to Aniebona (2000) state the enlightenment of the segments of the society. The government and the society are aware of the need of wide spread education for both children and adults in other to achieve certain prescribed goals in economic growth, health care, political and social awareness, political stability, self-reliance and national identity, among other things. That broadcasting is a powerful and effective instrument for achieving these national goals has been recognized all over the world. That role will be explored in the sequel.
Education is an important objective in programming for radio and television broadcasting is to educate the listening and viewing audience, given the high rate of illiteracy and low level of education prevalence in many developing countries. Political education, impacting of desirable social values, cultural education, health as well as technological education are the major duties the broadcast media should be conscious of their social responsibility to the society (Gambo, 2008). Information and educational function and other responsibilities of the broadcast media to the society so, it is expected of the media to promote for well-being of the members of the society.
Audience penetration is another important role the broadcast media play in the development of enhancement of knowledge of the members of the society, creating awareness against malaria parasite and in changing their attitude and behavior of people toward the health effect of malaria parasite.
The broadcast media serves as a source of cultural, political, health and other educational and enlightenment programmes for the masses, leading them towards self-actualisation and national development (Ellinas, 2010). Broad media is a medium of communication through which the individuals share the world around them and beyond their immediate environment. Broadcast Media educates citizens on new issues inherent in the society. For example, issues on health, politics, business, current affairs, etc, are aired to create awareness. Media serves as an agent of social mobilisation, people are moved to delivering a certain goal, based on their awareness of their rights and responsibility to the society (Cohen, 2001).
The broadcast media helps health workers expand their audience reach, which is crucial considering the fact that face-to-face channels of communication often require too many human resources and reach only a small number of people in large, underserved rural areas. The broadcast media provides an important link between the rural residents and vital health information.
The broadcast media are effective way to persuade target audiences to adopt new behaviors, or to remind them of critical information. Besides informing the public about malaria: symptoms, treatment, prevention and where to seek help, they can also keep the public updated about vaccination campaigns. The mass media can “empower rural populations to fight major causes of malaria epidemic such as the use of insecticide net, maintaining a clean and healthy environment, can be prevented through vaccination, inform large numbers of people for the benefits of living a healthy life (Hartman, 2010).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease caused by a Plasmodium parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die. In 2015 an estimated 212 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 429,000 people died, mostly children in the African Region. Malaria is diverstating families, made poor; poorer and costs the nation about 140 billion naira annually”. It hampers children’s schooling and social development in general. It is against this background the researcher is willing to examine the role of the broadcast media in the eradication of malaria in Ethiope East Local Government of Delta State.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The basic objectives of this study are:
To examine the nature of malaria in Ethiope East L.G.A.
To ascertain the awareness level of broadcast media campaigns against malaria in Ethiope East L.G.A .
To determine how audience response to malaria campaigns on broadcast media in Ethiope East L.G.A.
To find out the demographic factors that affect audience awareness to malaria campaigns by broadcast media in Ethiope East L.G.A?
To find the challenges hindering media campaigns of malaria in Ethiope East L.G.A?
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. To what extent is malaria affecting the people in Ethiope-East L.G.A?
2. To what extent are the broadcast media carrying out campaigns against malaria in Ethiope East.
3. To what extent do audience respond to malaria campaigns on broadcast media in Ethiope East L.G.A?
4. What demographic factors affect audience awareness of malaria campaigns by broadcast media in Ethiope East L.G.A?
5. What are the challenges facing the broadcast media in campaigning against malaria in Ethiope East L.G.A?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is no longer news that malaria epidemic is spreading at a geometric rate in Nigeria in particular and the world in general. The significance of the study cannot be emphasized in that it would help Nigerians in general and residents of Ethiope East Local Government in particular to know the effectiveness of using the broadcast media as a medium of communicating malaria awareness to the citizenry. It would also affords the people audience the opportunity to knowing about what this dreaded and terminal disease since prevention still remains the best way of curtailing the spread of the malaria parasite. The outcome of this study would be of great relevance to the populace and the operators of radio and television stations in the country on how best they can adjust and structure malaria enlightenment campaign programmes on radio and television so as to reach their target audience and also to achieve their aim.
In addition, the study would act as a guide to policy makers, the outcome of the study would also serve as a reference material to the student. The health sector of the economy as it will guide them on the best policy measures to adopt in order to tackle the malaria epidemic in the country. Future researchers who may desire to carry out research in this area or related aspect will find this materials relevant.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Because of time, geographical locations, fund and other necessary logistics, the study is narrowed down to Ethiope East Local Government of Delta State. The research is narrow down to Ethiope East Local Government because of the incident of malaria-endemic in the area; the disease's severity can cause mild immunity in a large proportion of the local population. As a result, some people carry the parasites in their bloodstream but do not fall ill. The researcher will visit the Ethiope East Local Government before structuring and administration of questionnaires.
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