Post Mortem

Observation on multi-media campaign on HIV & AIDS (NSACS) and role of media

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/8/2018 11:52:41 AM IST

 Apropos to the news item, “Question mark raised over musical campaign for HIV & AIDS awareness”, published in Nagaland Post on 8th October 2018, I would like to share some of my research findings on the Role of mass media and HIV & AIDS in Nagaland. 

For any health communication strategy to succeed, it is pertinent to keep in consideration the cultural ethos of the targeted community. Therefore for behaviors to change on a large scale, the cultural values, societal norms and structural inequalities have to be taken into consideration. For any good communication strategies to succeed it has to bein line with the policy and legislative environment and linked to service delivery aspects. 

The HIV & AIDS epidemic, as a complex problem, calls for a complex communicative development approach. Such a trans-disciplinary approach should thus first of all accommodate a multi-stakeholder and a multi-sectoral approach. The approach must also be sensitive to issues such as stigmatization, discrimination, norms and values. 

Today the study of Development Communication has become very important in Mass Communication and Journalism studies. Development Communication refers to the uses of communication for further development. It can thus be said to be an approach to communication, which provides communities with information they can use in bettering their lives. It has two primary roles - transforming role for social change and a socializing role by seeking to maintain some of the established values of the society (Rogers, 1983).

Within the Development Communication field, Health Communication is conceptualized as the central social process in the provision of healthcare delivery and the promotion of public health. Health Communication, over the years has become an important part of media intervention, as demand for health related information in the mass media has grown exponentially. Health information is the most important resource in healthcare and health promotion as it is essential in guiding strategic health behaviours, treatments, and decisions (Kreps, 1988). Thus, Health Communication is the study of communication strategies to educate and influence communities and individuals on various health related issues.

Though Health Communication can be seen as an important medium to reach the targeted people, many Communication Scholars argue that entertainment-education, media advocacy, new technology and interpersonal communication, including patient-provider communication can further enhance the implementation of health campaign by health communicators. 

The use of entertainment-education is increasingly being used in addressing health-related issues ranging from issues such as blood pressure, smoking and vaccine promotion to family planning and HIV & AIDS prevention. The result is a growing volume of media products, especially radio and TV soap operas and similar serial productions produced with the specific goal in mind to educate their audiences. 

Now the recent Multi- Media campaign on HIV & AIDS awareness organized by Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS) can also be termed as an Entertainment-Education communication strategy to reach out to the younger generation. However, the writer during her research found that the campaign did not prove to be effective but drew flak from the respondents.

The writer conducted a research study among HIV infected women in Kohima and Dimapur in the year 2014-15. The study found that in Nagaland, information on HIV & AIDS is generated through mass awareness campaigns, which are held across the state in schools, churches, villages and community gatherings etc. It was therefore considered worthwhile to explore the role of media campaigns on HIV. However, it was found that only a small section of the respondents (18.2%) agreed that media campaigns boosted their confidence to go for HIV testing, a significant section (31.1%) disagreed and half of the respondents (50.7%) were unsure in this regard.

(To be concluded)

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