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Influence of Family Planning Media Programmes on the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Residents of Enugu Metropolis

London Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume | Issue | Compilation
Authored by Michael Ukaegbu , Efetobor, O. Elijah
Classification: For code:111707
Keywords: family planning, programmes, knowledge, influence and practices.
Language: English

This study evaluates mass media coverage of family planning programmes and population control, with focus on married men and women in Enugu metropolis. Accordingly, the Survey research methodological approach was adopted. Based on the statistics obtained from the National Population Commission, Enugu State Office, the total population of Enugu metropolis is 722,664 with 40% (289,066) of them as married based on 2006 population Census figure. In consonance with the above statistics, the population for this research is 289,066. A sample size of 400 was taken using Taro Yamane’s formula. In testing the four hypothetical statements, Chi-square statistical tool was used. Evidence from research data, therefore, indicates that Media coverage of family planning programmes has not caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures. Research finding shows that educated people are more prone to accepting family planning messages from the news media than uneducated people. The researchers conclude that the research findings conformed with the research objectives and assumptions earlier made. Based on the research findings and the conclusions drawn, the researchers recommend that medical professionals should be sent to the rural areas to educate them more on the need for family planning, if possible in their dialect for proximity. Taking cognizance of the heterogeneous and large audience spread across these locations, the communication media should be used by these professionals in this regard.

               

Influence of Family Planning Media Programmes on the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Residents of Enugu Metropolis

Ukaegbu, Michael Ibeα & Efetobor, O. Elijahσ

____________________________________________

ABSTRACT

This study evaluates mass media coverage of family planning programmes and population control, with focus on married men and women in Enugu metropolis. Accordingly, the Survey research methodological approach was adopted. Based on the statistics obtained from the National Population Commission, Enugu State Office, the total population of Enugu metropolis is 722,664 with 40% (289,066) of them as married based on 2006 population Census figure. In consonance with the above statistics, the population for this research is 289,066. A sample size of 400 was taken using Taro Yamane’s formula. Chi-square statistical tool was used in testing hypotheses formulated. Evidence from research data, therefore, indicates that Media coverage of family planning programmes has not caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures. Research finding shows that educated people are more prone to accepting family planning messages from the news media than uneducated people. The researchers conclude that the research findings are in conformity with the research objectives and assumptions earlier made. Based on the research findings and the conclusions drawn, the researchers recommend that medical professionals should be sent to the rural areas to educate them more on the need for family planning, if possible in their dialect for proximity. In view of the fact that the audience are not only large and heterogeneous, but spread across these various locations, the communication media should be used by these professionals to address these variances.

Keywords: family planning, programmes, knowledge, influence and practices.

Author α: Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, Abia State University, Uturu Abia State, Nigeria.

σ: PhD., Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, Joseph Boakai College of Social and Management Sciences, Gregory University, Uturu Abia State, Nigeria.

  1. INTRODUCTION

In all societies, the mass media has constitutionally-defined functions that include but not limited to informing, educating, and entertaining as well as enlightening the audience. All the mainstream communication media (magazines, television, internet, newspapers, etc.) have the abilities to direct our attention towards specific issues, and this is evident in the Agenda-Setting function of the mass media.

In carrying out their out functions to society as contained in the constitution, the mass communication media, have always devoted attention to the coverage of various aspects of human endeavors. Attention is given to issues such as education, politics, sports, business and economy, religion, arts and culture, entertainment and health amongst others.

The media have consistently remained useful resources in society. As a media of mass communication, they serve as tools for shaping thoughts, and means of controlling economic and political powers (Copeland, 2003). Besides, they provide an essential forum for public discussion and debates, thereby guiding society (Copeland, 2003).

Over the last sixty years, the influence of the Media on human behavior has been the subject of many research works, however, (Lazersfeld et al. 1955) contend that some other studies suggest that mass media had little effect on human behavior since people were mostly influenced by personal contacts owing to selective perception. At other times, research looking at more and more sophisticated campaigns packaged to change a variety of behavior shows that some mass media campaigns have indeed been able to change behavior, probably because they were well-planned and executed or because they relied more on audience research and mobilized individual and community interaction. Sophisticated societies are dependent on mass media to deliver health information; Marshall McLuhan calls media “extensions of man.”

The role that the mass media has played in creating and sustaining awareness of family planning programmes and population control is very remarkable. The mass media always has some amount or responsibility imposed on them, that is, to guide its audience towards a more purposeful and development-oriented goals. Apart from exposing the public to new ideas, opinion and information, a responsible mass media should equally guide the audience members to accept healthy practices which will not only guarantee their health but also make them live happily and in prosperity.

The media, no doubt, are significant sources of health-related information and can shape the way we think about and discuss issues like population explosion in Nigeria. To carry out these arduous tasks, the media, with their known power to direct audiences’ attention towards contemporary subject matters, as evident in the Agenda-Setting function of the mass media must provide people with health-related information that would enable them to properly function  as a people in their sociological environment.

President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania in 1969 says “giving birth is something to which mankind and animals are equal, but rearing the young for many years is something which is a unique gift and the responsibility of man.” A Chief nursing officer and family planning clinic coordinator at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (U.N.T.H.), Enugu, Mrs. C.N. Anumba, in a paper presentation on the occasion of a 6 weeks competence training for nurses, midwives, doctors and pharmacists in clinical safe motherhood, stated that:

family planning is an aged-long concept that has been applied in various ways by people; and the term became the identifying word for this age-long phenomenon when the social effects of abandoned babies, high rate of maternal deaths resulting from illegal abortions and problems associated with having too many children than the family income could bear, were observed by psychologists and health workers in 1916.

She also wrote that Arabians whose major means of traveling were animals, mostly camels, first tried family planning on animals. Then, the initial experiment was carried out by inserting precious stones into the uterus of female camels during caravan or long journeys to prevent unwanted pregnancy since this weakens and impairs movements of camels.

By 1912 when Margaret Shangai, a nurse by profession lost one of her best friends through childbirth, she decided to help in reducing maternal death by introducing a health programme known today as ‘family planning and birth control,’ by setting up a clinic for this purpose in 1916 in New York City. Seven years later being 1923, another woman Marie Stopes followed Margaret’s idea and set up a birth control clinic in London. These attempts never yielded the desired impacts until 1952 when family planning produced its initial resultant effect in the international arena. By 29th November that same year, a conference on family planning, held in Bombay had an outcome that gave birth to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) under the joint chairmanship of Margaret Shangai and Lady Rania Rau.

In the beginning, the concepts of family planning were slowly accepted, however, Sweden in 1968 became the first nation to assist family planning programme through the allocation of fund to the programme initiative. The United States of America followed in 1965 with her grant for the same purpose. The initial attempt at practicing family planning in Nigeria was in 1950 for two reasons – there was an increase in criminal abortion and secondly, the dumping and disposing of new-born babies without official fathers.

In 1976, twenty-four years after the birth of IPPF and sixty years after Shangai opened the first birth control clinic, the first world action on family planning was taken, seventy-eight countries pledged funds to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). It must be stated, however, that the prominent promoters of family planning, did not envisage its use for population control, but as a public health exercise designed to improve the health of the mother and child and to reduce the burden of the family care on the father. It was when social scientists began to take a keener interest in the exercise that it was identified as a means of controlling the world population and consequently national and world health economy today depends on planning which makes use of relevant statistics generated from that place.

Today, family planning has come a long way, as it has not only gained global recognition as a health technique but also as an economical technique for many countries of the world including Nigeria. PPFN was the first in Nigerian in 1952 to start family planning services. Some years ago, the government embarked on family planning programmes, which have been receiving much media coverage, particularly in radio, television, newspaper, magazines, billboard, posters, internet, etc.

On 4th February 1998, an announcement was made by the Nigerian Attorney General and Minister of Justice Prince Bola Ajibola on the adoption of a policy of four children to one woman though not compulsory; this could have possibly been implemented if not the fears of government as it concerns the religion and custom of the people. However, a communication approach that is persuasive was used to enable the citizens to imbibe the attitude of having only the number of children that can be catered for by available family income. The objective of the policy was to protect the health of the mother and child; reduce the concept of early marriage of fifty percent by the year 1995 and by eighty percent by 2000. All the efforts were geared towards curbing the fast-growing population of the country which experts believe may rank the 4th in the world by the year 2025. While the population growth of Nigeria is increasing rapidly, the economy is fast declining, exposing the citizens to possible starvation and extermination.

Thomas R. Mathus in his book, ‘Essay on the principles of population’ (1998) first alerted the world on population problems; noting that population outgrows the rate of food production. He postulated that world economic order was developing in arithmetical progression while in geographical increase Nigeria is by far the most populous country in Africa, with a population projection of 180.5 million by 2015 as against the 160 million based on 2006 census statistics. Such alarming rapid growth of the population affects the social-economic well-being.

Accordingly, Such agencies as Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria-PPFN; United States Agency for International Development – USAID; National Council for Women Society – NCWS have to join in the crusade to combat population explosion in Nigeria.

They have individually and collectively made efforts to enlighten the population on the importance of curbing unregulated or unplanned family size by applying various family planning devices through the mass media. Enlightenment campaign and programme are produced in English and Vernacular to ensure both the learned and unlearned are part of the crusade. Such media interventions come in the form of “you and the family” on the NTA network; Radio Nigerian Enugu programme like “Omulu zuo”, Ndi nne ma ma”, “woman to woman”. Some soap operas like Amaka Igwe’s Fuji House of Commotion and the Family Circle series are also produced to bring to the fore the dangers of having an oversized family that cannot be provided or catered for with the lean monthly, or annual income.

The government and some NGOs’ also took to sponsoring some of the media programmes reflecting on population control. These bodies also procure condoms in their large quantities, which were distributed free of charge to the public.        

  1. PROBLEM STATEMENT 

Family planning and population growth have, over the years, become an issue of concern to nations globally. To handle this situation, governments and NGOs have continued to use the communication media in campaigning for family planning and population control in specific terms.

Such campaigns, it is believed, are capable of inducing the desired behavioral change in the target audience. Nigeria alarming population growth rate is 3.4% per annum. It is worrying; this appears evident in the government’s first-ever population policy of four children to a woman, issued in February 1998. The government regards family planning as a necessary factor in its population control, hence her involvement in conjunction with other voluntary agencies in family planning programmes. Unfortunately, by 2015, the rate at which population of Nigeria is increasing makes one wonder the effectiveness of these media campaigns on the knowledge level of the people, their attitude and adoption of family planning for the general health of their families and the socio-economic well-being.

The extent of audiences’ knowledge level of/and attitude to family planning and population control, following the mass media campaigns and their adoption or otherwise of these essential media messages, is the rationale for this study.

  1. OBJECTIVES OF THE PAPER

The broad goal of this work is to examine the extent to which media reportage of family planning programmes have affected the knowledge level of the people, their attitude and adoption of family planning. However, this study targets achieving the following specifics:

  1. To find out if Media coverage of family planning programmes has caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures.
  2. To check if educated people are more prone to accepting family planning messages than the uneducated.
  3. To check if Families with high economic status will more readily embrace family planning messages than families with low status.
  4. To ascertain if religious and cultural beliefs do hinder the adoption of family planning programmes.
  1. RESEARCH QUESTIONS

To guide the study, the following research questions have been raised:-

  1. To what extent have Media coverage of family planning programmes caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures?
  2. To what extent does the level of education affect one’s acceptance of family planning messages?
  3. Do families with high economic status readily embrace family planning messages more than families with low status?
  4. To what extent has cultural and religious beliefs of the people hindered the adoption of family planning programmes?

V.   RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

The following hypotheses were raised to give the study the desired direction

Hypothesis One

H0: Media coverage of family planning programmes has not caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures.

H1: Media coverage of family planning programmes has caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures.

Hypothesis Two

H0: Educated people are not more prone to accepting family planning messages than the uneducated.

H2: Educated people are more prone to accepting family planning messages than the uneducated.

Hypothesis Three

H0: Families with high economic status will not readily embrace family planning messages than families with low economic status.

H3: Families with high economic status will more readily embrace family planning messages than families with low economic status.

Hypothesis Four

H0: Religious and Cultural beliefs do hinder the adoption of family planning programmes.

H4: Religious and Cultural beliefs do not hinder the adoption of family planning programmes.

  1. REVIEWS OF RELATED LITERATURE

Evidence abounds in the academic literature that the level of reproduction has been persistently high in the last three or four decades and remains so at present (Fraser and Weisberg 1981, p.15; Odaman 2005, p.156). Hence, it will be right to believe that if the nation’s population is left to grow uncontrolled, the natural resources will sooner or later be depleted by the growing population ratio.

To stem the tide of unfettered population growth, the Federal Government in 2002 came out with a regulatory population policy paper on family planning and fertility. Based on the policy paper, the value of child spacing, that is the family planning on the wellbeing of the family is the promotion, and incorporating family planning in maternal and child health care services. Hence, it is believed that the policy paper will lead to the reduction in maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, as well as help, reduce rapid population growth in the shortest possible time, leading to the achievement of sustainable development by making sure that population and available natural resources grow proportionately. Such interventionist strategy, in the end, will invariably lead to the attainment of good quality life and high standard of living, not only in Nigeria but in other developing economies or democracies of the world.

Lindros and Luukkainen (2004, p.37) contend that Nigeria is a country where modern family planning usage is one of the lowest in the world. Such poor adoption of family planning practices may be as a result of lack of useful information to those who need the information as the majority of the Nigerian populace live in the rural areas where access to modern means of communication including the mass media is not only fluctuating but mostly unavailable most times. However, there is a growing interest with the intense efforts of the government to not only introduce but promote the use of modern family planning methods into the maternal and child health services in Nigeria; unfortunately, there seems to be apathy among the people in the application of family planning methods.

Ugoji (2008, p.111-115) observes that family planning programmes strive to prevent unwanted pregnancies, help achieve birth spacing as well as assisting couples limit family size to reduce maternal/infant mortality. In supporting the above viewpoint, Odaman (2005, pp.153-159) enumerates some of the family planning methods to include; the use of the safe period, calendar or rhythm, oral pills, condoms, injectables, intrauterine devices (IUDs), Norplant and sterilization.

Family planning provides the society with some socio-economic and health benefits (Odaman 2005, pp.153-159). Awareness of such benefits can significantly enhance the use of contraceptives, which in turn, will reduce population growth and overtime have positive effects on national development.

In recognition of the central role of the media in stemming population growth through family planning, Oladeji (2008, pp.99-103) contends that communication and decision making play a vital role in ensuring informed choice of family planning and reproductive health behaviour. Effective communication/ decision making, according to Rimal et al. (2002, pp.61-74), allows people to seek what is best for their health and to exercise their right to good and quality healthcare.

More so, it has been well argued that the media, particularly radio and television have been quite good in awareness creation about family planning. This is mostly evident in the urban, suburb or metropolitan cities in Nigeria. This is because, people residents in these places have greater access to the mass media. In a survey research of predominantly urban areas, about 90% of all urban house-holds have radios and about 60% own televisions in Nigeria (Information, Education and Communication, IEC, July 1996) and the likelihood of such people having access to family planning information as purveyed through radio and television media is equally undisputedly high.

Narsary (2009), while examining the knowledge and practice of family planning methods among married adolescent women in India, observed that exposure to mass media and husband-wife communication play a significant role in family planning matters.

The above reality may have prompted Piotrow et al. (1994, p.20) to believe that the spread of television and radio, the rise of an independent press, and increasing literacy rates in many countries offer new opportunities for family planners and other healthcare organizations to inform the public and reach opinion leaders). Obaid (2006, p.56) and Abd El-Aziz (2006, p.98) also identified radio and television media as reliable instruments in family planning education in Jordan and Egypt respectively.

Similarly, in more recent research conducted to assess the knowledge, understanding, and attitude of couples towards family planning across two ecological settings of Jammu district in India, Dhingra et al. (2010) discovered that television and magazines were the most prominent accessible information sources on family planning to couples.

  1. ATTITUDE FORMATION, MODIFICATION, AND BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE

Most studies on media campaigns emphasizes the issue of the people’s attitude regarding the extent to which a particular idea, programme or innovation are received and adopted.

Akinfeleye (1989, p.97) believes that attitude formation and attitude modification precede behavioral change or adjustment for the achievements of the desired goals. He further states that for attitudinal and behavioral change, effective communication must be conceived, presented and articulated before any useful mobilization becomes achievable. Unfortunately, the problem of the appropriate medium to be used arises when communicating with the rural dwellers.

In this connection, Babalola (1986, p.67) states that broadcasting transcends the barriers of literacy and it reaches all the people without discrimination except those imposed by the people’s own selective will.

Broadcast messages are of course forgotten with ease most times, but their impact continues to exercise influence at the subconscious level. Indeed, a broadcast media contents tend to generate mass appeal, and this arguably makes it more dependable in reaching the grassroots on issues like family planning.

To develop a people, especially those in the rural areas, therefore, an array of communication strategies including community radios and televisions must facilitate the exchange of information needed to enhance the improvement of the people in socio-economic or socio-political terms.

It is instructive to state that the entire range of communicative dynamics are considered an essential vehicle for disseminating family planning information, most especially in a country like Nigeria where the majority of the people live in the rural areas.

  1. COMMUNICATING FAMILY PLANNING MESSAGES

In Nigeria, just like in other places, Governmental Agencies (GAs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), have deployed some means to communicate family planning information to the populace.

At one point or the other, governmental agencies (GAs) as well as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) like the Action Health (AH), the Federal Ministry of Health (FMH), Society for Family Health (SFH), Women Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC), Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) used the broadcast media to disseminate family planning information and services across to their audiences. Mainly, programmes such as “Flavours” (radio), “One Thing at a Time” (radio), “African in Progress” (radio), “Story Story” (radio), “Wetin Dey” (television) and “The Widow” (television) that seek to promote Family planning have been broadcast or currently being aired in most parts of Nigeria. It is the use of these platforms that prompted the examination of the effectiveness of the broadcast media (radio and television) in communicating messages about family planning.

In 1989, two distinguished legends in the Music Industry: Sunny Ade and Onyeka Onwenu reached the music top chart with two songs promoting sexual responsibility, “Choice” and “Wait for me” respectively.

According to Ethel Jones, the songs were produced to mark the first phase project with PPFN. “Choice” targets older married couples while “Wait for me” was intended for younger married women and men of reproductive age. In the second segment of the project, the songs were released in saleable quantities, while the PPFN promoted the songs heavily with a press conference featuring the two artists, newspapers, advertisements and a co-coordinated launch of the songs through the National Council of Women’s Society.

Ethel Jones went on to say that on the third phase of the project, the songs were used to encourage listeners to seek family planning services. A series of radio and television programme based on the songs and their messages were developed to direct people to family planning clinics. The songs were trial tested with a series of focus groups discussions where they were appreciated, but the people were unable to grasp the message of the songs.  Suggestions from discussants called for revision of some of the lyrics, particularly when asked about their perceptions and understanding of the message embedded therein. The focus groups listened to, according to Kalu and Kusemiju (2002) include 116 people aged 22-36 years and the second set involved are 180 people aged 18-32 evenly divided among Nigeria’s three ethnic groups.

8.1 Empirical Review

In the Enugu State, for instance, all the information, education and communication activities are focused exclusively on television. Forty-three drama episodes involving family planning were produced and incorporated in “In a lighter Mood”, being the first attempt to test the enter-educate concept in Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Enugu (studies in family planning 1999). Particularly, it served as a good platform through which sensitive and unfamiliar topic like family planning were presented to the audience. In a study conducted by Osuji (1997) on “the acceptance of family planning by people,” the audience could identify with the characters in the television series that represented Enugu residents, the audience was familiar with the characters because the programme had previously been aired on a weekly basis before the take-off of the project. “In a lighter mood,” was developed by family planning and media experts working together, based on focus group research.

In a research conducted by Nwangwu (1999) to assess the peoples’ overall exposure to family planning show and its impact on viewers, the survey was designed to measure:

  1. Audience recognition of family planning emphasis in the drama.
  2. Audience recall of the location of the family planning clinic from the spot announcement.
  3. The Appeal of the episodes.

Of the 199 persons interviewed, 61% had watched television the night of the broadcast, 54% had watched “In a lighter mood,” 43% recalled the family planning messages and 31% recalled the family planning clinics sites.

More so, NTA Enugu features programmes like “Youth Forum,” Ezi ‘n’ ulo,” you and the family,’ “family background” etc. Enugu State Broadcasting Station (ESBS) Radio and Television features programmes like “Women’s World,” Echi di ime.”

Radio Nigeria Enugu likewise features “family matter,” “let them live,” and omulu zuo” and “ndi nne mama.” All these programmes help family planning officials and parents to discuss matters that concern family planning and create awareness for those who have not heard about it and even mobiles many to adopt family planning measures (studies of family planning pp. 268-270).

8.2 Benefits of Family Planning

Ndinechi (1997, p.10) outlined the benefits of family planning as follows.

Family Planning allows a man to:

  • Become physically, socially, mentally and economically stable and mature before having kids.
  • Have only the exact number of children he can adequately care for as it concerns adequate feeding, housing, clothing, education, healthcare, love, and attention.
  • Reduce his economic burdens, loads and worries.
  • Enjoy a good relationship with his wife without fear of unwanted babies.
  • Prevent contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Family Planning allows the woman to:

  • Avoid the high risk of pregnancies and maternal death.
  • Give attention to her husband and children adequately.
  • Contribute to the economic well being of the family.
  • Enjoy a fulfilling sexual relationship with the partner.

Family Planning also benefits the Nation through:

  • Proper development, by balancing population growth with available resources.
  • Improve in the quality of standard of living of the people.
  • Better health for the citizens.
  1. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

This research is situated within the frameworks of two communication theories. The individual differences theory explicates the differential understanding and adoption of family planning and population control based on media campaigns, while agenda-setting theory defines the place of the media in the coverage of family planning and birth control measures.

The Individual Differences theory not only explains the differences that exist in individuals, it equally examines the different perceptions that may arise from individuals on the issue of family planning. From expositions and laboratory experiments on behaviorism, learning differences and attitude formation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was clear that individuals differ in their psychological organization, just as evidence from studies in the natural sciences also revealed differential biological endowments inherent in man. Results indicate that attitude, values, and beliefs in the context of experience were learned and this resulted in differences in cognition and their discernment abilities. The principle of selective attention and perception, which holds that people pay attention to messages and interpret them in line with their interests, beliefs, values, and experiences gives a clear explanation to this.

Individual differences theory proposes that individuals respond differentially to the media messages based on their psychological needs. Individuals consume the mass media to satisfy their varying needs.

In the context of this research, married couples will sharply differ in access and exposure to media contents as it concerns family planning and population control. Since peoples understating differs substantially, the media they use will substantially be different as well. The above reality explains the differences in the family sizes in Enugu. Even though they may all have access and exposures to mass media, some will choose to have a small family size, while others have large family size. The reality of the submissions and viewpoints presented above is the basis for the adoption of this theory.

Agenda Setting Theory: Describes the media as an entity that wields a powerful influence – capable of telling us what issues are important. Walter Lippman, being a newspaper columnist by 1922, showed concerns about the power of the media to present images to the public.

Agenda-setting is concerned about the creation of public awareness, as well as on salient issues by the news media. There are two rudimentary assumptions underlie most research on agenda-setting: First, is the assumption that the media do not reflect reality; but filter and shape such reality and secondly, it is also believed that the media concentrates on a few issues and subjects which eventually make the media audience to perceive those issues as important more than other issues. Agenda-setting theory seems rather appropriate to help us understand the pervasive role of the media.

Bernard Cohen (1963) stated:

“The press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.”

Media influence has a way of affecting the publics’ mind based on the order of presentation in news reports about news events and issues.

The relevance of this theory to this research is straightforward: Mass media channels have over the years have set an agenda by popularising the issue of family planning and population control. Today, concerns about family planning and population explosion have come to assume public attention. The picture of family planning and population control got into our heads by the news media, and the importance given to these issues is as a result of the importance attached to these issues by the mass media. The above submissions are the rationale for anchoring this research within the framework of the agenda-setting theory.

X.  RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 

The researchers adopted a descriptive research design in this study. The survey research method was used in this research, by eliciting responses from Enugu residents on media coverage of family planning and population control and its effects on the people.

Based on the statistics obtained from the National Population Commission, Enugu State Office, the total population of Enugu metropolis is 722,664 with 40% (289,066) of them as married based on 2006 population Census figure.

In line with the above context, the researchers adopted Taro Yamane’s statistical formula to take the desired sample size of 400 and selected from various layouts of Enugu metropolis: Ogbette, Independence Layout, Ogui New Layout, New Haven, Abakpa, Emene, Uwani, and Gariki.

The Questionnaire was the measuring instrument used in collecting quantitative data in this study. To yield a flawless research data that will produce valid results and conclusions, the questionnaire was designed and validated in its content and face values. Two (2) independent researchers with expertise in measurement and testing were used for the validation test. Corrections pointed out by the two independent researchers were weighed within the frameworks of the research objectives, and the researchers agreed substantially with the two independent researchers in their observations, but with some minimal differences in some areas. Accordingly, both content and face validity were obtained after harmonizing the corrections pointed out by the two independent researchers.

To check for the reliability of the measuring instrument (questionnaire), Spearman-Brown prediction formula was used. The Spearman-Brown prediction formula (also known as the Spearman-Brown prophecy formula), in the view of Allen and Yen (1979) is a formula used by psychometricians to predict the reliability of a test after changing the test length.

For the reliability of a two-item test, according to Eisinga, Te Grotenhuis, and Pelzer (2013), the formula is more appropriate than Cronbach's alpha. The researchers produced 30 questionnaire and divided (i.e., split) same into two matched halves. The first half (15 copies) was earlier pretested or administered. After 2-week timeframe, the second half (15 copies) of the questionnaire was re-administered to the same respondents to check for internal consistency.

Test Length ------- 2 weeks

Pretest one         D1 =         Σ 5.652

Pretest Two         D2 =         Σ 4.42

r                     =         

Source:http://www.cedu.niu.edu/~walker/calculators/sbpfresults.asp?sbpfsd1=0.98&sbpfsd2=0.77&sbpfr=1.75 & Submit=Calculate

Generated data from the respondents were presented on tables and analyzed mathematically with the use of simple percentages. In the end, the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was adopted for overall data analysis.

Data Analysis 

All the four hypotheses formulated for the study were tested using the chi-square statistical tool.

Hypothesis One

H0: Media coverage of family planning programmes has not caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures.

H1: Media coverage of family planning programmes has caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures.

Tested Data: Quantitative research data collected from question 16 in the questionnaire was adopted in testing Hypothesis One.

Descriptive Statistics

 

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Minimum

Maximum

Media coverage of family planning programmes has caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures (Que. 16)

400

2.68

.632

1

4

Chi-Square Test

        Media coverage of family planning programmes has caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures (Que. 16)

Observed N

Expected N

Residual

To a large extent

26

100

74

To some extent

38

100

62

Not at all

248

100

-148

Can't say

88

100

12

Total

400

 

 

Test Statistics

 

Media coverage of family planning programmes has caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures (Que. 16)

Chi-Square(a)

26.091

df

2

Asymp. Sig.

.000

Monte Carlo Sig.

Sig.

.000(b)

 

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound

.000

 

 

Upper Bound

.000

Decision Rule and Test Result for the Hypothesis

At 5% level of significance and 2 degrees of freedom, the chi-square table value is 0.103, while the chi-square calculated value is 26.09. Since the chi-square computed value is less than the chi-square table value, which is 26.09> 0.103, the null hypothesis (H0) was accepted. Therefore, we reject the alternate hypothesis (H1), and based on the inference from the test statistics, conclude, Media coverage of family planning programmes has not caused families in Enugu metropolis to adopt population control measures.

Hypothesis Two

H0: Educated people are not more prone to accepting family planning messages than the uneducated.

H2: Educated people are more prone to accepting family planning messages than the uneducated.

Data Tested: This hypothesis was tested using the data collected from question 15.

Descriptive Statistics

 

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Minimum

Maximum

Educated people are more prone to accepting family planning messages than the uneducated (Que. 15)

400

1.86

1.048

1

4

Chi-Square Test

        If educated people are more prone to accepting family planning messages than the uneducated (Que. 15)

Observed N

Expected N

Residual

Not at All

248

100

148

To some extent

88

100

-12

To a large extent

26

100

-74

Can't say

38

100

-62

Total

400

 

 

Test Statistics

 

Educated people are more prone to accepting family planning messages than the uneducated (Que. 15)

Chi-Square(a)

68.824

df

3

Asymp. Sig.

.000

Monte Carlo Sig.

Sig.

.000(b)

 

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound

.000

 

 

Upper Bound

.000

Decision Rule and Test Result for the Hypothesis

At 5% level of significance and 3 degrees of freedom, the chi-square table value is 15.352, while the chi-square calculated value is 68.82. Because the calculated chi-square value is greater than the table value (68.82 > 15.352), the null hypothesis (H0) was accordingly rejected. Therefore, we accept the alternate hypothesis (H1), and from the test statistics, conclude that educated people are more prone to accept family planning messages than the uneducated.

Hypothesis Three

H0: Families with high economic status will not readily embrace family planning messages than families with low economic status.

H3: Families with high economic status will more readily embrace family planning messages than families with low status.

Data Tested: Data generated from question 18 was adopted in testing hypothesis three.

Descriptive Statistics

 

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Minimum

Maximum

Families with high economic status will more readily embrace family planning messages than families with low status (Que. 18)

400

2.68

.632

1

3

Chi-Square Test

 

Observed N

Expected N

Residual

Not at all

12

100

-88

Yes

356

100

256

To some extent

32

100

-68

Total

400

 

 

If Families with high economic status will more readily embrace family planning messages than families with low status) (Que. 18)

Test Statistics

 

Families with high economic status will more readily embrace family planning messages than families with low status (Que. 18)

Chi-Square(a)

326.091

df

2

Asymp. Sig.

.000

Monte Carlo Sig.

Sig.

.000(b)

 

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound

.000

 

 

Upper Bound

.000

Decision Rule and Test Result for the Hypothesis 

At 5% level of significance and 2 degrees of freedom, the chi-square table value is 0.103, while the chi-square calculated value is 326.09. Since the chi-square value is greater than the table value (326.09> 0.103), the null hypothesis (H0) was rejected accordingly. Therefore, we accept alternate hypothesis (H1) and based on the inference from the test statistics, conclude that Families with high economic status will more readily embrace family planning messages than families with low status.

Hypothesis Four

H0:        Religious and Cultural beliefs do hinder the adoption of family planning programmes.

H4:        Religious and Cultural beliefs do not hinder the adoption of family planning programmes.

Data Tested: Data generated from question 19 was used in testing hypothesis four.

Descriptive Statistics

 

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Minimum

Maximum

Religious and Cultural beliefs do hinder the adoption of family planning programmes (Que. 19)

400

2.68

.632

1

2

Chi-Square Test

If Religious and Cultural beliefs do hinder the adoption of family planning programmes) (Que. 19)

 

Observed N

Expected N

Residual

Yes

302

100

202

No

98

100

-2

Total

400

 

 

Test Statistics

 

Religious and Cultural beliefs do hinder the adoption of family planning programmes (Que. 19)

Chi-Square(a)

326.091

df

2

Asymp. Sig.

.000

Monte Carlo Sig.

Sig.

.000(b)

 

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound

.000

 

 

Upper Bound

.000

Decision Rule and Test Result for the Hypothesis 

At 5% level of significance and 2 degrees of freedom, the chi-square table value is 0.103, while the chi-square calculated value is 326.09. Since the computed value is greater than the table value, that is 326.09> 0.103, the null hypothesis (H0) was accordingly rejected. Therefore, we accept the alternate hypothesis (H1) and based on the inference from the test statistics, conclude that Religious and Cultural beliefs do not hinder the adoption of family planning programmes.

  1. FINDINGS

  1. Evidence from research data indicates that exposure to family planning media programmes has not led families into the adoption of population control measures. This is given the fact that there is an increase in family sizes, despite the media campaigns on family planning and birth control.
  2. It was found that acceptance of media campaign messages on family planning is dependent on one’s level of knowledge. Research data indicates that educated people are likely to accept family planning media messages than uneducated people.
  3. Again, this research shows that there is a high correlation between economic status and acceptability of family planning media messages. Hence, families with high economic status will readily embrace family planning messages than families with low economic status.
  4. Contrary to widely held belief, this study repudiates the assumption that religious and cultural beliefs do hinder the adoption of family planning practices.
  5. Despite the media campaigns on family planning and birth control, this research shows that most couples are still very much willing to give birth to more children.
  6. In campaigning for family planning and birth control, radio as a medium of mass communication is preferred mostly by the audience, and this closely followed by the television medium. The above, the researchers believe, may be due to their audio and visual attributes.
  7. Based on evidence from research data, it was found that the communication media have not done much to reduce population growth through their programmes on family planning and birth control.
  1. CONCLUSION

The importance of the media in changing people’s behavior cannot be overemphasized. However, the researchers conclude that the non-adoption of family planning measures by Enugu residents is not a function of ineffective media programmes, but is based on individual believes, varying knowledge level and attitude.

  1. RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on the research findings and the conclusions drawn, we recommend as follows:

  1. Media houses should always advertise birth control measures as this will help to create awareness of the issue of family planning and how the methods work so that misinformation would not occur.
  2. Medical professionals should be sent to the rural areas to educate them more on the need for family planning, if possible in their dialect for proximity. But for broader coverage, the communication media should be used by these professionals.
  3. Government, non-governmental agencies and philanthropists should sponsor media programmes to propagate family planning. This is given the fact that family planning helps to reduce the population, which in the end is beneficial for all. They should also donate money, pills, condoms and free medical care to the people.
  4. Clinics should be built to make sure that couples could receive information advice and care from healthcare personnel and donors agencies like USAID, UNICEF, GHAIN, and WHO.
  5. Health officials, too, should periodically organize seminars and discussions on family planning and population control, educating people on its importance.
  6. We also recommend that advocacy, that is, the use of opinion leaders, particularly religious and traditional leaders to spread the gospel of family planning through the mass media.

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