Impact Of Health News On The Lifestyle Of Nigerian Youths

Impact Of Health News On The Lifestyle Of Nigerian Youths

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Health, as the saying goes is wealth and probably the world’s greatest resource for a healthy and strong nation lies in the health and population of its young people.

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Health is defined in the constitution of the World Health Organization as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Mahlor, Director General, World Health Organization suggests that health should be considered “in the broadcast context of its contribution to, and promotion by social and economic developments, so that people will be able to lead socially and economically satisfying lives.

Not enough can be said or written about the importance of the state of health of our youngsters. Philosophers, theologians, teachers, writers and the like have all lent their voices to the need for the excellent upbringing and maintenance of these youngsters who have been described as our future leaders.

Equally, governments all over the world recognize the prime importance of its youth population. In the light of these, programs, polities and facilities are put in place to produce healthy, bright and enterprising leaders of tomorrow.

However, a disease, which could be best described as the poison and ruin of 20th century to humanity, reared its ugly head as far back as the early 1980’s since then has gone nuclear. From all indications, this deadly disease seems to have come to stay especially as it defies all known medications. It has left the best crop of medical personnel in the world over battling to see it an end could be brought to this monster that seems set to wipe 20th century humanity.

The mass media is not left out of the struggle to see that this disease, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) does not stay a longer than it has already stayed. This is evident in the volume of reports that have been carried out in our various Newspapers and Magazines, billboards and Posters. Our electronic media run documentary and jingles. A lot of advertisements on products that can be used in its prevention are also made on daily basis.

In fact, everyone now knows or is very much aware of the existence of AIDS. Even in cases where one is convinced of the message of the media to tow a particular path in life, he still has to content with his peers who might see him as anti-social.

The individual represents the beginning of the large complex society and provides a fertile ground for the study of various elements of the society. In this study, we will look at the media, based on the function they perform on the health of the society and the relationship between this function and the life style of Nigerian Youths especially students of this noble institution known as Federal Polytechnic Oko in Anambra State.

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In response to increased evidence and intense public debates on the existence of AIDS in Nigeria, the then minister of Health, Olukoye Ransome Kuti, instituted the National Expert Adversary Committee on AIDS (NEACA). This committee was charged with the responsibility to established whether there was AIDS or not in Nigeria, advice the government and draw up strategies and programmes to control the spread of AIDS in Nigeria.

The committee’s report made it clear that there was AIDS in Nigeria and wanted that unless immediate steps were taken to prevent and control it, the country will be faced with a public health problem.

This necessitated the establishment of AIDS co-coordinating units and twenty HIV testing facilities in the various states of the federation training were undertaken by personnel to man the centers. In addition, public enlightenment activities were embarked upon as well as production of education materials like handbills, books on AIDS and pamphlets. Workshops and seminars were also organized from time to time to educate the public.

It is very obvious that creating the awareness for health, especially AIDS, and seeking ways to control the spread lies on the shoulders of the government. This is because if left unchecked, the whole nation, both young and old stands the risk of being infected. However, the government cannot work alone without the use of the mass media – enlightenment campaigns and news on the workshops and seminars as carried by the mass media.

With the recent of development blowing across the nation and the world over, people are becoming more and more aware of a lot of things and they are now living better lives in the area of health. Nigerians in particular have become more health conscious as is evident in people taking exercises, healthy eating and sleeping habits.

In response to this changing needs of the society, the mass media in Nigeria have increased air time, frequency and space given to health news. Radio, Television and Magazines now abound with health news. The reporting of health news in our media has been regulated to once or twice a week in each of these different media. More so, in relation to news on AIDS, the media are trying to fight the battle through their reports and media coverage.

The African concord on Sept. 17, 1990 issue, had article “Media united Against AIDS” in which it chronicled the African Media efforts towards ridding the continent of AIDS. The Nigerian Economist, in its Nov. 8, 1988 issue, told of how medical personnel who were supposed to save lives actually got careless when they transfused two patients with HIV infected blood in a teaching hospital. The disclosure was credited to the then minister of health, Olukoye Ransome Kuti, who refused to  give the name of the teaching hospital, doctors or the patients who had become victims. The article was titled “AIDS merchants” the articles went on to grossly condemn the act, which the minister said was committed in error and asked that the culprits be brought to book.

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In its April 2nd, 1984 issue, the African Guardian carried a report titles “AIDS confirmed”. In it, the magazine was educating the populace to be careful as no less an authority than the minister of health had announced the existence of AIDS in Nigeria.

The African concord of April 5, 1988 issue, had an article “putting AIDS to music”. This article had special implications for the Nigerian society as it tells of how Kenyan government contracted a very popular Pop band in the country to reach the youths who are full of the “it can’t happen to me” attitude. Recently, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) and non – government organizations, had in one time or the other organized seminars, conference and musical shows to tell the more about the scourge.

Other example of these media awareness programmes abound in the federal ministry of health sponsored advertisements on television, radio, newspapers and magazines. The advertisement encouraged the use of condoms for causal sex but it quick to point out that abstinence and mutual fidelity remain the best protection against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

However, it should be borne in mind that it is not easy to effect a change especially an attitudinal change towards a situation or phenomenon that has almost developed into a stereotype. Based on these, in this study therefore attempts are made to determine the impact of health news on the attitudes and behaviors of Nigerian Youths especially, students of Federal Polytechnic, Oko.

1.2       Statements of the problems

One of the prices developing nations has to pay for development is the infiltration of foreign cultures into theirs. In some cases, these foreign cultures could be said to have wiped out the local ones. In Nigeria, the need to dress well generally conforms to modern way of life and peer pressure by attending parties, dating, reading romantic Novels and watching romantic films as well as pornography, have in one way or the other led to promiscuity and drug abuse among our youths.

Promiscuity and drug abuse expose one to the risk of contracting the deadly virus. It is even more disheartening to realize that a good number of Oko students still do not believe that AIDS exists in this country and even if it does, their genetic and spiritual make up is such that they will never contract it. Yet, statistics provided by the AIDS coordinating units all over the country have proved that AIDS exists at an alarming rate.

1.3       Scope of the study

The scope of this study will be limited to the students in Mass Communication Department, Banking / Finance and Estate Management in Federal Polytechnic, Oko due to the limited time available to the researcher to carry out the researcher work.

Also, the study will dwell as much as possible on written materials AIDS.

  • Purpose of the study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of health news on the lifestyle of Nigerian youths with particular reference to students of Federal Polytechnic, Oko. However, the study has the following immediate objectives.

  1. Determine whether or not health news with AIDS bias has any impact on the lifestyle of Oko students.
  2. Determine the extent to which media reports have changed the lifestyle of Oko students.
  3. Ascertain the extent to which the media have lived up to expectations as agents of mass education.
    • Significance of the study
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The survival of any country rest greatly on the shoulders of its young men and women and if these future leaders were not well informed and educated on health matters, their tomorrow would be jeopardized therefore, this study tends to enlighten individuals especially out youths through the mass media on the existence and dangers of AIDS.

Also, this study would aim at drawing the attention of the government to the plights of our higher institutions of learning with particular reference to students of Federal Polytechnic, Oko, beef up measures in producing programmes of articles that would help reduce the spread of the virus or completely eliminate the scourge.

  • Research questions

To enable the researcher arrive at meaningful answers to the research problems, the following research questions are formed:.

  1. Do Oko students monitor or have access to media reports on AIDS?
  2. Do media reports on AIDS have any effect on the lifestyle of Oko students?
  3. Do they view these reports in the positive or negative light?
  4. Are they willing to continue to monitor these reports and tell their friends about them?
    • Definition of terms

HIV:     HIV stands for Human Immune Virus. it ahs been, given this name because it attacks the immune system of the body and makes it weak and deficient. HIV is the causative agent for AIDS.

AIDS:   Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a condition, which comes up after five to ten years (or a whole lot less in some people of being infected with HIV.

YOUTHS:This is made up of a collective of young men and women with full appearance of life. It is the time when a person is young especially the time when a child becomes an adult.

Impact Of Health News On The Lifestyle Of Nigerian Youths

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