THE ROLE OF MASS MEDIA IN ENLIGHTENING NURSING MOTHERS ON THE BENEFITS OF EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING (EBF)
1.1 Background of the study
The sustainable development of a country lies in how effective communication is. The media is a powerful tool that drives the all round development of a country. The media has the tendency of packaging the programmes and policies of the government in such a way that it is understood by all and sundry, in other to pass across a message.
The media through its campaigns and advertisements package programmes that will enhance the development of the country. Though it is not all about packaging the message, but it all about ensuring the message meets its target audience and its purpose well achieved.
In carrying out development campaigns, the people have to be involved in the process (Okunna, 2001, p:299). Many developmental campaigns have been carried out in Nigeria, but the truth remains on how they can be achieved. One of such campaigns is on Exclusive breastfeeding.
The media, considering the various functions it performs can achieve 100 percent progress in enlightening nursing mothers about exclusive breastfeeding.
Moreover, considering two of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which arereducingchild mortality and improving maternal health before 2020; effective media campaign if carried out can help achieve these goals
(WHO, 2005).This will be possible because one of the benefits of EBF is reducing child mortality and morbidity.
One of the major attempts made by the World Health Organization and United Nations International Children Emergency Fund was the introduction of Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative(BFHI), with the aim of sensitizing nursing mothers on the need to adopt the EBF method. BFHI recommended that infants be fed with just breast for 6months; thereafter continue with breast milk and other foods. A study revealed that this campaign was not fully achieved as children between ages 1-5 who are exclusively breastfed dropped from 18% in 2003 to 12% in 2008 and 12% in 2010 and returned to 18% in 2010; consequently increasing the rate of child mortality (NPC and ICF macro, 2008). It was still discovered in this study that the number of people who are enlightened about EBF in the urban areas of Nigeria is higher than those in the rural areas and this poses a threat on the importance of EBF (NPC and ICF Macro, 2009). From the foregoing, this draws to the mind that the media has a serious role to play in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF.
The media can achieve this by placing programmes and adverts on the radio, television, newspapers, bulletins, posters, etc about EBF in other to register the message on the minds of nursing mothers. They could move a step further by visiting hospitals and antenatal homes to enlighten nursing mothers and even prospective mothers on the need to adopt EBF.
However, despite the campaign carried out so far by the media, there still seems to be a gap of communication among nursing mothers in the rural parts of Nigeria; as they seem to be cut off (Oruamabo, 2004:16). Obviously, most media in Nigeria are located in the urban areas and sometimes their transmission does not get to the people in the rural area, thus, cutting off the rural dwellers. This brings us to the issue of adopting not only the modern modes of communication, but also the traditional modes of communication through verbal and non-verbal forms of communication as long as it is accepted and understood by the people(Ndolo, 1998:13).
This study is bent on exhuming how effective the media can be in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF irrespective of their location.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Over time, we have had cases of the people who reside in the rural parts of the country being relegated. They are relegated even down to the dissemination of information. It could be as a result of the language used in passing in the message or the channel of disseminating the information. Also, due to the poor state of infrastructure in the rural parts of the country, many media houses will not like to set up their stations there.
Another problem that can affect the media in playing its role is the problem of ‘media ownership’. Media owned by the government hardly promote such developmental campaigns like that of breast feeding; they would rather prefer to promote their political activities.
Also, Nigerians by nature are conservative people. They do not easily accept to change. Even while those programmes on breast feeding are ongoing, some nursing mothers find it difficult to accept to this method. They believe that their fore parents never practiced such and so why should they.
These are some of the problems that will be tackled in the course of carrying out this study.
1.3 Aims/ Objectives of the study
The major aim of this study is to discover the role of the mass media in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF.
Other specific objectives include:
To discover the challenges of the mass media in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF. To discover how effective the mass media can be in enlightening nursing mothers about EBF. To examine the challenges women have in their use of the mass media. To discover the media that will be best in enlightening nursing mothers on EBF.
1.4 Research questions
To what extent does the mass media perform its role in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF? What are the challenges of the mass media in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF? What are the challenges faced by women their use of the mass media?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H0: The mass media does not perform its role in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF.
H1: The mass media perform its role in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF.
1.6 Significance of the study/ Justification of the study
This study is meant to inform, educate and enlighten the general public, especially nursing mothers, media practitioners and the government on the role the media plays in enlightening the public.
For the sake of this study, this study is bent on being a reminder to the mass media on their role in educating nursing mothers on the benefits of adopting EBF. It is meant to draw to the minds of media practitioners that for effective dissemination of development messages, there is need for media mix.
This study is meant to inform the government that they can sponsor messages on the various forms of the mass media in other to ensure effective communication on the benefits of EBF.
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other work or study.
1.5 Scope/ Limitations of the study
This study is broad, since it is studying the role of the mass media in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF in Nigeria.
Limitations of study
1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview). 2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.6 Definition of terms
Role: This is the function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation.
Mass Media:It means technology that is intended to reach a mass audience. It is the primary means of communication used to reach the vast majority of the general public. The most common platforms for mass media are newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet. The general public typically relies on the mass media to provide information regarding political issues, social issues, entertainment, and news in pop culture.
Enlighten:To give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation.
EBF (Exclusive Breastfeeding):This means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given – not even water – with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.1 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
The purpose of this study is to examine the role of mass media in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF) in Nigeria (A case study of media practitioners in Enugu state).
In this study, a survey research design was adopted, the population comprises enlightened media practitioners in Enugu state, a simple random sampling technique was used to select forty-four (44) media practitioners in Enugu state, and a questionnaire was the instrument for data collection.
The following objectives were used for the study:
1. To discover the role of mass media in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of exclusive breast feeding.
2. To discover the challenges of the mass media in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF.
3. To discover how effective the mass media can be in enlightening nursing mothers about EBF.
4. To examine the challenges women face in their use of the mass media and to discover the media that will be best in enlightening nursing mothers on EBF.
The responses of the respondents were used in achieving these objectives even as it revealed the role of the mass media in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of exclusive breast feeding to include but not limited to the development of programs on TV and Radio on the benefit of EBT; serving as channels to reach out to the nursing mothers; transmitting government packages to the nursing mothers and getting feedbacks from the nursing mothers to the government.
The study revealed the challenges of the media in enlightening nursing mothers to include: the misguided information on EBF from relative and friends of the nursing mothers does not allow the nursing mothers to listen to the mass media; the culture of the people which most times is against not given a baby water; interference from mother-in-law and poor funding of the media houses. It revealed that the media can be effective in enlightening nursing mothers by ensuring that programmes on EBF gets to nursing mothers at the rural areas. Similarly, the content of the media message should be such that can be consumed by the rural dwellers.
However, the challenges women face in their use of the mass media include that women do not have time to listen or watch the mass media; there is an over-concentration of women on the new media or social media and that actually there is no much attractive programs on the mass media to attract the women to the media.
Nevertheless, the responses of the respondents revealed that television is the best media for enlightening nursing mothers on EBF.
Finally, the finding from the test of hypothesis revealed that mass media performs its role in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF.
5.2 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Two out of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which are: reducing child mortality and improving maternal health before 2020 can be achieved through effective media campaign on Exclusive Breast Feeding. This will be possible because one of the benefits of EBF is reducing child mortality and morbidity.
Exclusive breast feeding is the type of breast feeding in which babies are subjected to just breast milk for a certain period of time, at most for six months. This idea of feeding babies with just breast milk is not well known by Nigerian mothers’ due to some reasons which include improper dissemination of information on EBF, ineffectiveness of the media, conservative nature of Nigerians, media centralization and poor content of media messages.
The media being a very powerful tool can contribute towards national development by packaging programmes which will help promote government and non-governmental policies on EBF. The media through its programmes can inform, educate, sensitize and enlighten the public especially mothers on the benefits of exclusive breast feeding.
With this, the wrong notion people or mothers have towards exclusive breast feeding will reduce and by extension child mortality and morbidity will reduce as well.
However, this study is coming as a wake-up call to the media to help both the government and health organizations spread the news on the much benefits of Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF); most especially television as it is discovered from the findings of the study as the best media in enlightening nursing mothers on EBF.
Based on the findings of the study, the following suggestions are recommended:
I. The media should embark on back-to-back programmes to inform, educate and enlighten nursing mothers in Nigeria on Exclusive Breast Feeding.
II. All the media- radio, television, newspaper, magazine, etc should be duly used as tools of informing nursing mothers about EBF.
III. Media houses should work on their reach, i.e. they should ensure some persons are not cut-off from their programmes; as it has been observed that most rural dwellers are out of media reach. In such a scenario, nursing mothers in the rural areas will not get media messages on EBF.
IV. Similarly, media houses should work on their content. They should try and broadcast news, advert messages, jingles, etc. in the local dialect of the people in other to avoid cutting off from some people from receiving media messages.
V. Organizations in Nigeria should give better preferential treatments to nursing mothers to carry out exclusive breast feeding for at most a period of six (6) months; by so doing EBF will be encouraged, adopted and practiced by many mothers in Nigeria.
VI. Nigerian nursing mothers should adopt the exclusive breast-feeding method for the many benefits it offers.
VII. Health organizations, governmental and non-governmental and even religious bodies should carry out programmes and campaigns in various public places to sensitize the populace; especially women on EBF..