EVALUATION OF THE USE OF RADIO MESSAGES IN COMBATING RIVER BLINDNESS IN KWARA AND NIGER STATES
River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) constitutes a major public health problem in rural Nigeria. The disease is associated with variety of adverse social and economic effects on the endemic communities. This study sets out to evaluate the use of radio messages in combating River Blindness in Niger and Kwara States of Nigeria. A total of 385 individuals in endemic communities in the two states were studied. Survey method was employed, using questionnaire and interviews as measuring instruments. Multi-stage sampling was also used in this study for collection of data from the primary source. Simple frequency distribution tables, charts and diagrams were employed for data analysis and presentation. The result of the study shows that majority of respondents in the two states are aware of river blindness through health messages from radio. The result further showed that majority owned radio sets and do listen to health programmes weekly; while there were few challenges faced by radio stations in the area of poor transmission and use of English language for health message. The present study reveals that emphasis on pathological and ontological survey has been more on focus than psycho-social survey. The study among others, recommended that the use of radio messages for teaching and promoting health in river blindness endemic communities should be encouraged, local examples should be the point of focus in using radio drama to sensitize the people, radio messages should be motivating and highly interactive, and more studies on psycho-social survey should be encouraged due to paucity of literature on the use of radio messages in combating river blindness.
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