Poor knowledge and insufficient information about maternal health among women have been identified as some of the factors responsible for increasing maternal mortality in developing countries. Since the broadcast media is regarded as one of the effective means of communication in such countries, this study examined perceived impact of broadcast media messages on knowledge, attitude and perception of maternal health among women in Ilorin. The objectives of the study were to (i) find out women’s level of exposure to broadcast media messages, (ii) investigate the level of awareness of women about maternal health messages on broadcast media, (iii) examine women’s perception of maternal health messages on broadcast media (iv) and investigate the influence of maternal health messages on broadcast media on women’s attitude towards maternal health.
Using survey quantitatively, a sample size of 382 respondents was selected for this study. While 400 copies of questionnaires were distributed to women in ancient and new settlements of Ilorin to anticipate return. Stratified sampling was used to allocate questionnaires equally between settlements while purposive sampling was used to distribute the questionnaires individually to female respondents. Data were analysed using frequency and percentage tables, unit of central tendency (mean), unit of dispersion (standard deviation), correlation and regression analysis.
The study made the following findings:
Women in Ilorin depend mostly on broadcast media as a major source of information on maternal health but they identified radio as more effective than television in disseminating maternal health messages (58.2%).
Besides talk show and health programmes, maternal health messages were rarely promoted through other programmes (31.4%, 41.2).
Women agreed to the statement that broadcast media positively change their attitude towards maternal health (M=1.9, SD=1.1).
Women used broadcast media as a major source of enlightenment on maternal health (M=2.2, SD=1.2).
Women expressed a positive perception about broadcast media messages on maternal health (M=2.3, SD=1.2).
Hypotheses confirmed that awareness of women on maternal health has positive influence on their attitude (R2=.552, P=<.000).
Perception of maternal health messages on broadcast media positively influences attitude of women towards maternal health r=.739**.
The study concluded that broadcast media is popularly used by women and is a major source of enlightenment on maternal health issues but radio was identified as more effective than television in disseminating maternal health messages. It was therefore recommended that television should be properly used for maternal health campaigns for its advantage of sound and motion picture and that maternal health messages should be promoted through broadcast media programmes such as drama, documentary and news.
Key words: Broadcast media, Women, Maternal health, Awareness & Influence
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