1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Malaria has been a source of concern across the world, particularly in Nigeria owing its surrounding of tropical habitat. In 2012, millions of people perished from this preventable and treatable disease, with over half of the world’s population still at risk of infection (Amajor, 2011). Malaria is induced by both behavioral and non-behavioral factors in Nigeria. The continued prevalence of malaria in these areas has been blamed on some cultural practices that encourage mosquito breeding and access to people, as well as at-risk populations’ failure to use technologies required for effective malaria treatment, control, and prevention in a timely and appropriate manner. According to Corcoran, ( 2007), the situation was exacerbated by the growth of parasites and vectors that are resistant to medications and pesticides.hence Nigeria’s geographical or ecological circumstances have been pushed as being particularly beneficial to mosquitoes and, as a result, the prevalence of plasmodia. Therefore, it is also critical to comprehend the dynamics and consequences of these elements in order to build an effective malaria intervention program in Nigeria.
As a malaria-endemic nation, with statistics showing that malaria cases have increased significantly over the years, Malaria prevention and control are best accomplished with an integrated strategy that includes first-line medications, case management, indoor residual spraying (IRS), and the use of Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITN). (Corcoran, 2007) stated that the use of ITNs and indoor residual spraying is recommended for all people at risk, and the impact of ITNs on malaria control has been well documented, with reports indicating that population coverage of ITNs of more than 70% reduces clinical malaria and all-cause mortality in children by 15% to 30% in Nigeria. Studies has shown that the use of Insecticide Treated Nets has reduced mortality. Amajor, (2011) noticed that the poorest populations bear the brunt of the malaria burden, since they frequently lack basic information about the causes, effects, and capacity to pay treatment and preventative measures. In addition to the financial and behavioral difficulties, there are demographic and gender elements that are less typically discussed. A lack of knowledge and awareness of a disease is a key barrier to the prevention and intervention of any public health crisis; this may be considerably alleviated by increasing health communication tools and disseminating health information through traditional and/or digital media.
In Nigeria, mass media efforts have been utilized to educate people, particularly pregnant women, about the benefits of using ITNs on a daily basis. In many developing countries, print and electronic media have been widely employed in behavioral change messaging. Other forms of community communication, such as health literacy (via community drama and religious institutions), paper (poster, billboard, newspaper) and digital (television, radio) media, have been found to be important vehicles for the transmission of health knowledge and have been studied as public health behavior modification tools.
Diala, (2013) opined that to encourage the usage and adoption of these malaria prevention techniques, mass media campaigns have been launched to educate the general public, particularly pregnant women, on the effectiveness and long-term advantages of using ITNs correctly and consistently during pregnancy. Messages from the mass media campaign were broadcast on national radio and television stations in English, Pidgin English, and Nigeria’s three major local languages. In addition, billboards with clear statements on the link between mosquitos and malaria prevention were installed in key areas around Nigeria’s main cities to promote access to accurate information. Posters were created from the messages on the billboards as well as handbills that were widely circulated around the nation (Amodu, Adeyemo, Olumese & Gbadegesin, 1998). However, data for African nations is intermittent, and little is known regarding the effect of mass media on malaria preventative behavior, such as the use of antimalarial drugs during pregnancy and the use of ITNs.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Efforts has been made thus far in Nigeria using the mass media campaigns to combat malaria,by government and private bodies, are admirable. However, it appears that there is a significant gap in sensitization through the use of mass media and the populace. Amodu, Adeyemo, Olumese & Gbadegesin, (1998) noticed that this is due to the fact that the disease has remained a serious health concern in the country despite the massive resources, both human and material, invested in the effort. As a result, the necessity for strategic communication to address the challenges impeding the success of various courses of action and keep people better informed about the way out has become increasingly obvious. Diala, C. (2013) opined that tt is important to remember that for many malaria control measures to be successful, community engagement is required, which is dependent on persons’ knowledge and awareness of the illness this raises the questions on media awareness messages or anti-disease programs are not being adequately disseminated to Nigerians. More so is the concern on we use communication medium can be to used t improve the process of malaria healthcare delivery, as a result, the purpose of this study seeks to answer these question. It is on this note that the study focused on Mass Media Malaria Messages and its Impact on the Use of Insecticide-Treated Bed Nets among residents of Abia State and what can be done to improve it.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this study is to assess mass media malaria messages and its impact on the use of insecticide-treated bed nets among residents of Abia State. Other aims of this study are:
1. To identify the attitudes of Abia state residents concerning mass media messages about malaria.
2. To identify the challenges of mass media houses and their anti-malaria campaign
3. To evaluate the impact of insecticide treated bed nets on the spread of malaria
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Questions guiding this research are:
1. What are the attitudes of of Abia State residents concerning mass media messages about malaria?
2. What are the challenges of mass media houses and their anti-malaria campaign?
3. What are the impacts of insecticide treated bed nets on the spread of malaria?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of great benefit to the health sector and its officials as the benefits of using ITNs and the control of malaria will be discussed. It will also be of great importance to the media industry as it will show its standing and its impacts on anti-malaria campaign with the aim of encouraging them to broadcast more content related to malaria awareness. The result of the study will be beneficial to the society as it will show the effects of using ITNs hence would enable masses to adjust lifestyle that exposes them malaria disease. Empirically, the study will contribute to the body of knowledge and serve as reference to scholars and student who wishes to conduct further studies in related field.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will be carried out in selected communities in Abia state. This study will be looking at the assessment of mass media malaria messages and its impact on the use of insecticide-treated bed nets among residents of Aba North Local Government, Abia State.The study will further access the attitude of Abia resident towards using Insecticide Treated Net.The study is however delimited Osisioma Ngwa Local government resident in Abia State.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This research will be limited to residents of Aba North Local Government Area of Abia State and as such the results of this study cannot be applied outside of this area. This study will only be focusing on mass media campaign and the use of ITNs. It will not be focusing on any kind of anti-malaria campaign.
During the course of this research, financial constraints were encountered. This serves as a limitation to this study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS:
Mass media: technology that is intended to reach a mass audience
Malaria: an intermittent and remittent fever caused by a protozoan parasite which invades the red blood cells and is transmitted by mosquitoes in many tropical and subtropical regions.
Messages: a verbal, written, or recorded communication sent to or left for a recipient who cannot be contacted directly
Impact: a marked effect or influence
Insecticide: a substance used for killing the insects
residents: a person who lives in a place permanently or long term basis.
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