THE ROLE OF MASS MEDIA IN ENLIGHTENING NURSING MOTHERS ON THE BENEFITS OF EXCLUSIVE BREAST FEEDING (EBF)
- 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 breast feeding.
The media, considering the various functions it performs can achieve 100 percent progress in enlightening nursing mothers about exclusive breast feeding.
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.
- Statement of the problem
Overtime, 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.
- 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.
- 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
- The mass media does not perform its role in enlightening nursing mothers on the benefits of EBF.
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
Okunna, C.S (2001). A quick look at development communication. In Teaching mass communication (Ed.) C.S. Okunna Enugu. New generation books
WHO (2005). The World health report: 2005: make every mother and child count. Geneva: WHO. Retrieved from:
http://www.who.int/world-health day/2005/toolkit/en/. Accessed on February 7, 2015.
National Population Commission (NPC) [Nigeria] and ICF Macro. NigeriaDemographic and Health Survey; 2008.Abuja, Nigeria.
National Population Commission. NigeriaDemographic And Health Survey; 2009 (Preliminary Report).
Oruamabo, R. (2004). Effective promotion of breast feeding in the 2ist century: Promotion infant and child nutrition: Zaria 35thAnnual conference of the Pediatric Association of Nigeria.
Ndolo I. (1998). Foundationsof mass communication. Enugu: Zik –Chuks Communication