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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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