INFLUENCE OF MASS MEDIA AWARENESS TO PROMOTION OF FAMILY PLANNING PRACTICES
Characteristics, family planning communications campaigns and contraceptive behavior; to examine the relationship between specific media campaigns and family planning methods. Our population and sample size will be from the general public living in Agege Local Government Area and also some selected staff of the secretariat. Evaluation of data collected and seemed to establish relationship withour earlier stated variables in order to draw our inferences. In chapter five, the research work will deal with drawing inferences from the data collected and making our recommendations and eventual conclusion.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
With a growing population tipping towards 200 million people in 2015, experts are beginning to express fears about the capacity of Nigeria in managing such population amid poverty and burden of healthcare. This has prompted the federal government to subtly suggest birth control for its citizen with serious backlash and dichotomy between proponents and opponents. In the quest to stem the tide of unbridled population growth, the government of the federal republic of Nigeria in 2002 came out with a population policy paper on family planning and fertility regulation.
According to the policy paper, the value of family planning and the child spacing on the stability and wellbeing of family shall be promoted and family service shall be incorporated in maternal and child health care. This is to help reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality as well as reduce rapid population growth in the shortest possible time in order to ensure sustainable development which can be achieved only by reducing population growth to bring it to per with the available national resources.
This will invariably lead to the attainment of good quality life and high standard of living in the country. It is perhaps because of the foregoing world leader in 1974 accepted family planning as a human right of individuals and couples. Article 14(F) of the World Population Plan of Action states that: “all couples and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means to do so; the responsibility of couples and individuals in the exercise of the right takes into account the needs of their living and future children, and their responsibility towards the community”. Though there is a growing interest with the intense efforts of the government to popularize the use of modern family planning methods by integrating it unto maternal and child health in Nigeria, it seems many people still do not apply planning methods.
Is population Nigeria’s biggest problem? Whatever answer that is likely to come out; fears are being expressed concerning Nigeria’s rising population. From a little number of 55 million people in the 1950s, before independence, Nigeria’s population grew astronomically to about 80 million in the 1990s. Today, that figure is pecked around 167 million people. If the nation’s population is left to grow uncontrolled, the national resources will sooner or later be outstripped by increasing demand of the growing population. Aside the political undertone of population, a high population carries with it many burdens that may even over power the state in handling. An increased population for Nigeria will also over stretch services and infrastructure.
In all the challenges that come with high population density, poor healthcare remains the biggest headache. In the long run, it may lead to total collapsed of the social system. These are the fears being expressed by the government, prompting government officials to conceive the idea of family planning. Observers believed that high population will ever remain an impediment to her development until something is done about it. In the 1990s, the Ibrahim Babangida military government even attempted compulsory family planning for Nigerians. A policy that was greeted by strong opposition and critisms.
Though there is a growing interest with the intense efforts of the government to popularize the use of modern family planning method by integrating it into maternal and child health in Nigeria, it seems many people still do not apply family planning methods. This is essence brings to mind the role mass media will play to make effective the issue of family planning in a country like Nigeria that the literacy level is not at optimal.
The influence and pervasiveness of the mass media can be found everywhere around us today, and they are everywhere respected. We must search long and hard to find a Nigerian who will say that information provided by the media is not generally good for him or her in one way or another. We can say with large measure of certainty that one of the primary assumptions held by most Nigerians is that the media and the information derived from them have influenced our thought, attitudes and behaviors. Thus, the mass media touch nearly every one of us every day, socially and culturally. The mass media can affect the way we think about issues around us and they can influence what we think about and the way we eat, talk, work, study and relax. This is the impact of mass media on the society.
Lindroos and Lukkainen (2004) contend that Nigeria is a country where modern family planning usage is one of the lowest in the world. This may be due to lack of useful information to those who really need the information as a majority of the Nigerian populace live in the rural areas where there is poor access to modern means of communication including the mass media. Odaman (2005) family planning provides the society with some socio-economic and health benefits. Awareness of such benefits can significantly enhance the use of contraceptives, which in turn, will reduce population growth and overtime have positive effects on national development.
In this connection, Ugoji (2008) observes that family planning programs strive to prevent unwanted pregnancies, help achieve birth spacing and help couples limit family size so as to reduce maternal/infant mortality. Further, Odaman (2005) enumerates some of the family planning methods to include the use of safe period, calendar or rhythm, oral pills, condoms, injectables, intrauterine devices (IUDs), Norplant and sterilization. As regards the foregoing modern methods, Oladeji (2008) contends that communication and decision making play a vital role in ensuring informed choice of family planning and reproductive health behavior. Effective communication/decision making allows people to seek what is best for their own health and to exercise their right to good quality health care (Rimal et al.2002). In the same vein, it has been argued that mass media, especially radio and television have been quite effective in creating family planning awareness in urban Nigeria. Perhaps, this is because the urban dwellers have greater access to the mass media.
Raising a child requires significant amounts or resources: time, social, financial and environmental planning can help assure that resources are available. The purpose of family planning is to make sure that any couple, man, woman who has the desire to have a child has the resources that are needed in order to complete this goal. With these resources a couple, man, or women can explore the options of natural birth, surrogacy, artificial insemination, or adoption. In the other case, if the person does not wish to have a child at a specific time, they can investigate the resources that are needed to prevent pregnancy, such as birth control, contraceptives, or physical protection and predominantly urban areas, about 90% of all urban house-holds have radios and about 60% own televisions in Nigeria (information, education and communication, IEC, July 1996) and the likelihood that people living in urban areas would readily have access to family planning information as purveyed through radio and television media is high. But to make this level of family planning awareness effective among the generality of Nigerians, the mass media should have a hold in the rural areas where a larger number of people live.
The spread of television and radio, the rise of an independent press, and increasing literacy rates in many countries offer new opportunities for family planners and other health care organizations to inform the public and reach opinion leaders (piotrow et al 1994). Making the most of these opportunities requires skill in helping the news media cover family planning. Since 1972, the average family size in developing countries has dropped from six or seven children per woman to about three children. This trend has saved millions of lives and provided additional benefits to women and children who when healthy can achieve greater levels of education and empowerment (International Planned Parenthood Federation, PPF 1992).
Despite the gain, contraceptive use is still low and needs high usage in some of the world’s poorest and most populous places, including Nigeria. At least, three in 10 pregnancies are unintended in some regions, and millions of couples are still unable to effectively choose the number and timing of their children. The use of safe, voluntary contraception is also accepted worldwide. In 1994, representatives from 179 nations met in Cairo, Egypt at the international conference on population and development and agreed to provide reproductive health care to all people by the year 2015 – a goal that called for countries to ‘meet the family planning needs to their population’ and provide ‘universal access to a full range of safe and reliable family planning methods’ (Population Reference Bureau, PRB 2004).
Waiting until the mother is at least 18 years old before trying to have children improves maternal and child health. Also, if additional children are desired after a child is born; it is healthier for the mother and the child to wait at least -1 years after the previous birth before attempting to conceive (but not more than 5 years). After a miscarriage or abortion, it is healthier to wait at least 6 months. When planning a family, women who are over at least 30 years of age should be aware of the risks of having a child at that age. Like older men, older women are at higher risk of having a child with autism and Down syndrome, the chances of having multiple births increases, which cause further late-pregnancy risks, they have an increased chance of developing gestational diabetes, the need for aCaesarian section is greater, older women's bodies are not as well-suited for delivering a baby.
Family planning benefits the health and well-being of women and families throughout the world. Using contraception can help to avoid unwanted pregnancies and space births; protect against STDs, including HIV/AIDS; and provide other health benefits. Raising a child requires significant amounts of resources: time, social, financial, and environmental. Planning can help assure that resources are available. The purpose of family planning is to make sure that any couple, man, or woman who has the desire to have a child has the resources that are needed in order to complete this goal. With these resources a couple, man or women can explore the options of natural birth, surrogacy, artificial insemination, or adoption. In the other case, if the person does not wish to have a child at the specific time, they can investigate the resources that are needed to prevent pregnancy, such as birth control, contraceptives, or physical protection and prevention.
There is understandably a strong interest within population policy and family planning program circles in the potential impact that try to inform and motivate on the methods and advantages of regulating family planning. These messages can take many forms, ranging from soap operas on radio and television designed to persuade women of the personal and social advantages of smaller families to spot advertisements about methods and clinics. However, what is media evidence that such efforts actually influence individual’s reproductive attitudes and behavior?
The application of mass communication to influence family planning is a natural extension to the basic idea that the media can inform and motivate people. Communication efforts have become increasingly widespread in developing worldas part of international technical assistance and government program designed to reduce fertility. l clay, many more citizens listen to the radio than read newspapers or watch television. The focus of this work is to illustrate the analysis of the efforts and impact of mass media on family planning.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The application of mass media to influence fertility is a natural extension of the basic idea that the media can both inform and motivate people, even about such complex subjects as their reproductive means and goals. There is understandably a strong interest within population policy and family planning and the roles mass media plays to get the message across to the population. What is the evidence that such efforts actually influence reproductive attitudes and behavior? What are women's exposures to family planning messages in the media as measured by their recall of those messages? Is there any positive effect to contraceptive use especially by women who stand the risk of repeated pregnancy through unprotected sex? How does the spouse respond to issues of contraceptive use by their wives viz-a-viz truth and fidelity? Does these of contraceptive encourage promiscuity° among married women? In the course of knowing the problems and effects the effects that are being created by family punning and the role of mass media in creating the needed awareness, the following critical questions are examined. How has media awareness created the needed information that will help couples plan their family? What are the cultural barriers that will militate against access to birth control drugs and programmes?
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is significant because it provides the basis for further research into this topic by providin6 related data. The importance is underscored in the strategic position mass media play -s in every facet of human life and development. Again, the issue of quality of life for mother and child and high infant and maternal death adds more credence to the significance of this study. Again, the issue of duality of life for mother and child and high infant and maternal death adds more credence to the significance of this study. In all, that study will be useful to health planners to fashion out better ways toproject quality of safe life and living for the women and children population in setting achievable standards concerning media influence on family planning in the society.
1.4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
In a bid to ensure that this study is relevant in the field of academic profession certain aims have been designed for this research work. The aims that this research was carried out have the following objectives in mind;
· To examine and determine the knowledge and perception of the people of Agege community towards family planning.
· To examine the impact of mass media on family planning in the community.
· To suggest methods to bring about improvement to the health of both the mother and child.
· Assessment of government attitude towards family planning and quality of health of mothers.
· To advance solutions to the problems of media influence on family planning.
· To recommend positive ways towards family planning.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In the course of knowing the problems that couples face when selecting methods of family planning and the role of mass media in creating the needed awareness, the study intends to provide answers to these questions;
· Do people in the rural areas have access to mass communication methods like the urban dwellers?
· What is the cognitive level of family planning and family planning devices available to them'?
· What influences the attitude and decision of per rejection of family planning methods available to them''
· How has media awareness created the needed information that will help couples plan their family?
· What are the cultural barriers that will militate against access to birth control drugs and programmes?
1.6 SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF STUDY
The scope of this research project is centered on the influence of mass media on family planning in Agege Local Government area of Lagos State. The study tried to capture the effect of mass media in dissemination of family planning information as it has a wider reach and immediacy effect. It also looked at health issues surrounding child and maternal and mortality.
Time and financial constraints are two limitations to this study. Subsequent difficulty was encountered in obtaining data from the general public, nursing mother, hospitals etc. Shortage of literature review was another inhibiting factor. It was also difficult in getting young mothers and pregnant mothers to divulge information.
This research is significant because it provides the basis for further research into this topic by providing related data. The importance is underscored in the strategic position mass media plays in every facet of human life and development.
Again, the issue will be useful to health planners to fashion out better ways to project quality of safe life and living for the women and children population in setting achievable standards concerning media influence on family planning in the society.
1.8 DEFINATION OF TERMS
MASS MEDIA: this includes all means of effective communication with the larger society like radio, television, internet, billboards, fliers, magazine and journals, periodical, etc.
MEDIA: This includes all means and equipments used in the effective’s dissemination of information.
FAMILY PLANNING: Modern method of spacing children for effective planning of the family and care of both the mother’s health and the child.
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