INFLUENCE OF NIGERIAN TELEVISION AUTHORITY [N.T.A] ENUGU IN IMPROVING RURAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES (A STUDY OF UGWUAJI COMMUNITY OF ENUGU SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ENUGU STATE)
1.1 Background of the Study
Health is the most essential ingredient of life, deny man of that, he remains impotent in life. People do not value their good state of health until they have experienced one form of sickness or another.
However, as it is being said that health is wealth, issues of health has overwhelmed our daily comments since revolution of science.
According to records, sickness of various kinds has endangered the life of various citizens of Nigeria before, during and after the reign of colonial masters. Even at present people of Nigeria among other developing countries sign our detriment of sickness especially communication diseases like syphilis, AIDS etc.
On the other hand, communication system during the era was at its functional stage. The people of the third world countries rely on local communication for their exchange of ideas. The use of metal and wooden gong gun shots and smokes do not impact much information to people and some knew they are selective in nature and health messages are retarded.
Communication came and persisted in its function to enthrone philosophers and scientists quest to standardize the health welfare of people, communication has modernized people of the Third World and made their embrace changes in their health environment. One would say that since the advent of modern communication system, health issues have embraced a new and prosperous era in the society.
Communication functions to educate, inform and enculturete the people on the novel Medicare. Since then, the policy of health has been a dynamic ongoing process, less academia would ask mullion question on the immunization programmes since
sickness has been pervasive, government, non-governmental organization and individual are to fight it to a stop through the media.
Just as communication is indispensable in any human activity, Nigerian Television Authority as a broadcasting medium nearest to Ugwuoji community is very vital to the sensitization of the rural areas or a large, heterogeneous people for any activity that is of interest to them.
The importance of communication in our daily lives cannot be over-emphasized. Communication is central to human existence and all human activities that it will be hard for any person, group, institution or any nation to neglect it in their economic, political, health and social lives. It is the most essential factor for building or developing an organized, united, healthy or progressive nation or society.
If N.T.A. Enugu does not play any role on improving rural health care services, there will be no effective solution to rural health problems especially on preventing the most rampant sickness which is malaria in the rural area.
Based on the facts above, one can say that in any communication through television should occupy a key position in the interest of this research. The improvement of the rural health care services is one of the cardinal objectives of the Nigerian government since the nation’s independence. In suggesting a plan or a design for a health care system of the rural area in Nigeria, government planners are ever conscious of a feeling that they are working in “in vacuo”. This is due to the lack of extensive and detailed factual information as regards the state of the existing health care services which also have relevance to the needs of the communities. They are designed to serve, but should also be with the resources of the states of the nation concerned. Hence it would be to assume the existence of adequate financial support, manpower of various kinds and physical facilities, including equipment and suppliers.
In addition it would be illogical to ignore the existence of administrative and operational structures, which will be to ensure adequate and timely logistic support.
It is almost impossible to design a system of health care service which is applicable to every rural area in Nigeria in view of the different socio-economic conditions. Each state or local government thus have to assess the available alternatives, consider its own problems and then decide on priorities and organization. This assessment may result in changing or modifying an existing system or even involving new concepts. It is, however, important to state that Nigeria is developing rapidly and modernizing at the same time, and it should be realized fully that health care can help or hinder such process. Health care services in Nigeria are very inadequate and disease is treat to the efficiency of the population. This threat is nowhere more glaring than on rural areas, where very little has been done to ascertain the rural needs of the people and to plan to meet them with available resources. Expenditure on health in Nigeria has therefore, so far failed to cover the essential actions necessary to provide for the basic health needs of the greater proportion of the people.
The objective of any system is usually to provide basic health care to the rural areas of Nigeria where more than 70 percent of the people live, so that care is available to all the people all the time and as near as possible to their homes. This is done within the resources available to the state and local governments of Nigeria and in their socio-economic context, with a view to promoting the principles on which the World Health Organization (W.H.O) is founded. These principles, according to Nzewi (2001) are as follows:
Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmities.
The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. The health of all people is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals and states. The achievement of any state on the promotion and protection of health is of value to all unequal development in different countries in the promotion of health and control of disease, especially communicable disease. The absence of this is a common danger.
Health development of the child is of basic importance, the ability to live harmoniously in a changing total environment is essential to such development. The extension to all people of the benefits of medical psychological and related knowledge to the fullest attainable standard of health informed opinion and active co-operation on the part of the public are of utmost importance in the improvement of the health of the people.
Governments have a responsibility of the health of their people which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures. The desire to improve the health care services as well as to disseminate the information to the mass as on the attitudes that guarantee health living in Nigeria had made the government to recognize the importance of N.T.A. on the promotion of health care services.
In this regard, the media had been widely used in health campaigns across the country. Some of the most popular of such campaigns were successfully carried out through the media (N.T.A.). Some of the most popular campaign are Roll Back malaria programme, immunization programme in addition, during these campaigns, Nigerian Television Authority (N.T.A.) was used for highlighting major health hazard
and to suggest the strategies for ameliorating the health conditions of the rural peoples.
In other words, Nigerian Television Authority (N.T.A.) was used to present the health problems of the rural people and possible solution is easily understood in terms and forms. Besides, in the 1960’s and 1970’s Nigeria; the ignorance on health issues were tortured by the epidemic of child diseases especially in early 70’s and late 60’s.
Also epidemic sexual transmitted diseases like Gonorrhea peppered the youths, married men and women. During this period, over 20,000 citizens especially the children between the ages of one to ten years lost their lives. This is because people in the rural areas dwell more on roots and herbs with little or no precautions. These threatened the health of the nation and then pushed the country for campaign relieved people from these predicaments.
Furthermore, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a recent recognized disease throughout the world. First it is caused by infection with the human immune deficiency virus (HIV) which attack selected cells in the immune system and produces defects in function.
AIDS cases were first reported in 1981 in U.S.A. because it was common among homosexual then it was originally termed “Gay related immune deficiency virus (HIV). Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) which compares as channel of mass communication has been empowered by recent technological innovations to disseminate relevant information to the rural areas on the hazard of this endless sickness, such sickness is like measles, tetanus and whopping cough have reduced its victimization to the members of the society in the recent days.
Consequently the benefits of immunization programme cannot be over emphasized. At present, children, youths and even adults of age are relieved from contaminating diseases. The Nigerian Television Authority was chosen as a case study in dedermining the role it plays as a broadcast medium in improving rural health because it is the most effective and nearer to people of Ugwuaji community.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem to investigate the extent to which television stations have influenced or have helped to improve rural health care services in Ugwuaji community. Since it is necessary to accomplish the objectives of this study, therefore it is imperative to make the information flow across the whole community. Hence the problem on this research work are:
1. The primary problem of the study is to evaluate the role of Nigerian Television Authority in terms of packaging rural health care programmes that will enable them function more efficiently, accurately in improving rural health care services
2. To find out the problem of religion and culture value of the community. If it can make them not to accept rural health programmes based on television messages.
3. To find out the effort of television couverage in various health programmes and to see if it can influence or improve rural health care services and the initiatives of Ugwuaji people.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The objectives of this research are as follows:
1. To examine the role of the Nigerian Television Authority in the improvement of rural health care services in Ugwuoji community.
2. To identify those factors that prevent Nigerian Television Authority from fulfilling these roles
3. To suggest the strategies for enhancing the efforts of Nigerian Television Authority on the crusade for the improving of rural health care services.
1.4 Research Questions
This study will be guided by the following research questions
1. How does television information (NTA) help the people of Ugwuaji community to develop interest in rural health care programme?
2. How does Ugwuaji community embrace N.T.A. health programmes on prevention of common diseases?
3. To what extent does N.T.A. encourage health development on Ugwuaji community?
4. What are those factors that prevent Nigerian Television Authority from fulfilling these roles?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The findings and recommendations to be made on this study if implemented will improve the activities of the media in the area of improvement programmes of rural health care services. This Nigerian Television Authority will do by attracting health improvement programmes to the rural areas through the dissemination of vital health information to both the government and the masses.
Nigerians in general will also benefit from this research. This is because the improvement of the health care services at the rural areas will make positive impact in their lives since more than 80 percent of them live in the rural areas. A healthy nation
is a wealthy nation, the implementation of the findings of this study will help to build a strong verile and self-reliant nation that would be emulated by other nations.
Through this study, Ugwuaji community will learn some strategies on how to prevent some rampant disease that are common in rural areas, for example malaria.
1.6 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study borders on the media and its contributions to the improvement of rural health care services. It equally extended the border line to include the characteristics of the rural areas. The study is limited to the staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Enugu. The work is also expected to evaluate the health coverage on Ugwuaji community by Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), but we would not in all expectation claim hundred percent (100%) success, as a result of the problems that may crop during the research.
However, the study as to a reasonable extent affected by unavailability of human resources, incredible return of our shared questionnaire, which jeopardized our explanation on some necessary aspects of the topic.
1.7 Definition of Terms: Operational Definition
This can be seen as the interior part of the country side that is not developed. Rural is also a non-urbanized or village community which could be located in a city, adjacent to the city or far away from the city.
It is the study of health and health care delivery in rural environments. The health of the rural dwellers are critically examined and analyzed.
1.8 Assumption of the Study
It is assumed that, majority of the rural dwellers though has been threatened by one sickness or another has not actually adhered to instructions and warning for health, victimization. The implication of health hazards to individual life and the society in general, considering the destructive tendencies it passes on our nearest future with its promise and aspiration, need a re-addressing to improve the living standard.
Equally, we assume that the mass media is not versatile in health campaign unless it is a bad announcement, that mass messages on health do not create a powerful effect on the public.