This research work empirically explored the perception of mass media as tools for sensitizing rural dwellers about infectious epidemic: a case study of corona virus in Nigeria. The objectives of this study were to examine the level of COVID-19 media awareness to the rural populace in Oyo state, ascertain if the media campaign created a reasonable level of mass awareness of COVID-19 epidemic, causes, effects and prevention in the rural communities of Oyo state, identify if the awareness made any positive impact on the health behaviour of rural people in Oyo state. The scope of the study is Oyo state in 2020 making use of rural populace, information theory was used as a framework. The research design used for this study is survey, the population targeted for this study consists of all residence of the six communities selected in addition to all health care workers in the primary health care facilities situated there. 30 rural dwellers were used as sample size and cluster sampling technique was applied. Instrument used for this study is the questionnaire. Data collected were collected from primary sources. From the analysis of the data, the findings shows that COVID-19 media awareness in Oyo state was accessible to the rural populace, media campaign created a reasonable level of mass awareness of COVID-19 epidemic, causes, effects and prevention in the rural communities of Oyo state, the awareness made positive impact on the health behaviour of rural people in Oyo state. Following the findings, it was recommended that media campaign created on COVID-19 epidemic, causes, effects and prevention in the rural communities should be pushed further so it can get to the rest that have not heard of the disease, people should adhere to the instructions given to them by the media house. The study concludes that mass media has strong impact on the people.
Keywords: coronavirus disease, mass media, rural dwellers, Oyo state.
1.1. Background to the Study
Controlling the spread of influenza to reduce the effects of infection on a population is an important mandate of public health sector. Mass media campaign can be used to provide information on current and effective vaccination, drug therapy and social distancing measures.
The world is fast becoming a global village and a necessary tool for this process is communication of which mass media is a key player. The quantum development in the mass media industry all over the world is very rapid as one innovation replaces another in a matter of weeks. Emerging trends in socio-economic growth shows a high premium being placed on information and communication technology (ICT) by homes, organizations and nations.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wahan China. COVID-19 is spreading from person to person in China and limited spread among close contacts has been detected in some countries outside China including Nigeria. There is presently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19.
The sensitization and awareness campaign were to sensitize the populace on the cause of COVID-19, its symptoms, consequences and prevention methods. The media particularly social media, radio and television is used as a veritable instrument for creating the needed awareness and COVID-19 health education. Although some scholars argued that the use of social media is exclusively reserved for the educated. Government of Nigeria adopted media institutions with other traditional means of mass mobilization to create proper awareness of COVID-19 among rural communities. These institutions particularly the television and radio station adopted native vernacular or language as their means of communication.
This study, therefore, is posed to assess the level of awareness of COVID-19 among resident of different rural communities in Oyo state in the light of media sensitization campaign and the impact of the campaign on their precautionary health behaviour.
1.2. Statement of the Research Problem
The human health state considered the most critical to any country survival of a truism that healthy population bring about the desired goals. The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) discovered in 2019 spread from person to person. The first case of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa has been confirmed in Nigeria.
From evidence available to us, COVID-19 is presently in Nigeria,
The patient who first brought it to Nigeria is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and flew into the commercial city of Lagos from Milan on 25 February 2020. (BBC News, 2020).
Globally, more than 80,000 people in nearly 50 countries have been infected. Over 2800 have died, the vast majority in China’s Hubei province.
In Nigeria, the ability to contain this virus also lie within the help of the mass media. It is against this background that the researcher considered the study of the perception of mass media as tools for sensitizing rural dwellers about infectious epidemic: a case study of corona virus in Nigeria.
1.3. Objectives of the study
The aim of this study was to assess the perception of mass media as tools for sensitizing rural dwellers about infectious epidemic: a case study of corona virus in Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:
- Examine the level of COVID-19 media awareness to the rural populace in Oyo state.
- Ascertain if the media campaign created a reasonable level of mass awareness of COVID-19 epidemic, causes, effects and prevention in the rural communities of Oyo state.
- Identify if the awareness made any positive impact on the health behaviour of rural people in Oyo state.
1.4 Research Questions
This study will be guided by the following research questions:
- Is the COVID-19 media awareness in Oyo state accessible to the rural populace?
- Has the media campaign created a reasonable level of mass awareness of COVID-19 epidemic, causes, effects and prevention in the rural communities of Oyo state?
- Has the awareness made any positive impact on the health behaviour of rural people in Oyo state?
1.5. Significance of the Study
The study will enable relevant agencies concerned with eradicating COVID-19 in Oyo state and Nigeria in general to appraise the media framework for possible modification and modernization. The study exposes the rural dwellers perception of the media as an institution concerned with the people’s welfare and highlight the potency of the media as an instrument of mass education.
Empirically, this study is carried out to identify the perception of mass media as tools for sensitizing rural dwellers about infectious epidemic. This study will be of utmost importance to investors, government and the researchers because it will provide policy recommendations to the various Nigeria stakeholders taking adequate measures in the broadcasting industry for rapid capacity investment. The changing character of the broadcasting industry especially, the television station reforms including the licensing of online radio and television stations has affected the industry in recent times and will push studies on the perception of mass media as tools for sensitizing rural dwellers about infectious epidemic to new evidence(s). It will contribute to existing literature on the subject matter. This study will be of benefit to;
The Academia: members of the academia will find the study relevant as it will also form basis for further research and a reference tool for academic works.
Government: this study will reveal to the government happenings in the broadcasting industry. Formulation and implementation of policies based on this findings would ensure development in the industry.
Investors: this study shall also be valuable to the investors especially those who may have research interest as it shall guide their private investment decisions.
1.6. Scope of the Study
This study is intended to examine the perception of mass media as tools for sensitizing rural dwellers about infectious epidemic: a case study of corona virus in Nigeria with particular emphasis on Oyo state in 2020. The study covers the five geo-political zones that constitute Oyo state, although rural communities were randomly selected as areas of study. The study is restricted to COVID-19 media awareness and its impact on the health behaviour of rural inhabitants.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms have been defined operationally.
Epidemic: a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.
Disease: a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal or plant especially one that produces specific symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
Infectious: (of a disease or disease-causing organism) liable to be transmitted to people, organisms, etc. through the environment.
Mass media: refers to a diverse array of mass technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication.
Perception: the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. The way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted.
1.8 Organization of the Study
This study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is introduction which consists of the background to the study, statement of problem, research questions, research hypotheses, objectives of the study, the significance of the study, the scope and limitations of the study and finally the organization of the study. Chapter two deals with the literature review which consists of the conceptual literature, theoretical literature, empirical literature, theoretical framework. Chapter three gives the research methodology including research design, population of study, sample size, sampling technique, method of data collection, instrument of data analysis, method of data analysis, validity/reliability of instrument. Chapter four is presentation and analysis of data, discussion of findings. Chapter five gives the summary, conclusion and recommendations.
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