APPLICATION OF PUBLIC RELATIONS TOOLS IN ENHANCING HEALTH CARE DELIVERY IN SELECTED SOUTH- EASTERN STATES OF NIGERIA (2000 – 2010)
Over the years, public health care delivery programmes in Nigeria have been beset by one problem or the other. These include sometimes public apathy towards such health initiatives. The case of the cold murder of nine nurses on routine immunisation exercise in Kano State early this year is still fresh in our minds. Hence, the motivation for this study which is a critical appraisal of the application of Public Relations tools in enhancing health care delivery in selected South-Eastern States of Nigeria. The main objective of the study was to examine how the application of public relations tools can help health care delivery in the south eastern states of Nigeria. The specific objectives were to ascertain the extent public relations information disseminating tools were used in the execution of health care programs in South East, Nigeria; the relationship between use of public relations research tools and successful health care delivery programs; the significance of public relations inter-personal communication tools of counselling and health-talks and the potency of public relations socio-cultural tools of town criers, village meetings and cultural ceremonies for successful health care information dissemination in the area. The study adopted survey research design. The population comprised PROs/communication officers and select healthcare beneficiaries in Anambra State, Ebonyi State and Enugu State. A sample size of 400 was determined using Taro Yamane statistical formula. Kumar’s proportional allocation technique was employed in the distribution to the chosen states. Data collection was by questionnaire and interview. Cronbach Alpha was used for the reliability test and a value of 0.75 obtained. The hypotheses were statistically tested with Chi-square (X2) and Spearman correlation co-efficient (rs). Results obtained indicated that: Public relations information dissemination tools were not significantly used in the execution of health care programs in South-East, Nigeria. The relationship between use of public relatrions research tools and successful health care delivery programs in South East Nigeria were highly significant. Public relations inter-personal communication tools of counseling and health-talks were significant for successful health care delivery programs in the South East of Nigeria. Public relations socio-cultural tools of town criers, village meetings and cultural ceremonies were significantly potent for successful health care information dissemination in South East Nigeria. Thus, we recommended that: Public relations information disseminating tools/strategies, more public relations experts, better public relations funding and more public relations research should be made a priority in the public health care programs and campaigns in Nigeria, in order to enhance public awareness, acceptance and cooperation for such programmes.