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THE USE OF EDUTAINMENT COMMUNICATION STRATEGY BY THE SOCIETY FOR FAMILY HEALTH, IN CONTROLLING THE PREVALENCE OF HIV/AIDS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

The 2006 Census figures indicated that Nigeria has a population estimated at 149 million. It is a country which is made up of 36 states and 744 Local Government Areas. The figures have also indicated that Kaduna State has a population of approximately 6, 200, 000 where the Kaduna North Local Government Area was reported to have approximately 357, 694 people. Though some parts of the country are more affected than the others, there is no state or community of the federation that is free from the effects of the HIV/AIDS. Every state in Nigeria has experienced a growing HIV epidemic with its general population.

 The HIV/AIDS epidemic reached a great level of concern. The adult prevalence rate has been on the increase since 1991, when 1.8% 0f Nigerians were reported living positive. Nigeria has extended beyond the commonly classified high-risk groups but evidently a general epidemic.

The scourge threatens the economy because the epidemic principally affects adults in their most productive years of life (15-49 years). This has dire implications on the progress of the country towards social and economic development and could undermine the Nigerian's citizen's quality of life. Therefore, the nation adopted and committed itself to a multi- sectoral response involving all social and economic sectors that can impact upon the epidemic or be affected by the effects. The establishments of the National, State and Local Government Agencies for Control of AIDS are to assume principal responsibility for advocating the country's proactive approach in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In 2010, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS launched its comprehensive National Strategic Framework to cover 2010 to 2015. Some of the aims of the work included reaching out to 80% of sexually active adults and 80% of most- at- risk- populations with HIV counselling and testing by 2015, ensure 20% of eligible adults and 100% of eligible children are receiving Antiretroviral by 2015; and to improve access to quality care and support services to at least 50% of people living with HIV/AIDS by 2015.

The above is in line with goal 6 of the Millennium Development Goals of combating HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Initially, Nigeria developed the HIV/AIDS Emergency Action Plan (HEAP, 2001-2003) which was to serve as Nigeria’s immediate/medium term strategic plan to tackle the epidemic through the multisectoral approach. The HEAP was built around two strategic components: Creation of an enabling environment through the removal of socio-cultural, information and systemic barriers thereby catalyzing community based responses; and Specific HIV/AIDS interventions targeted to persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The National Strategic Framework (NSF, 2005-2009) took over from HEAP with the aim of reducing HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence by 25% in Nigeria by 2009. The NSF is an instrument for achieving the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy’s (NEEDS) imperative of addressing the attainment of millennium development goals concerning combating HIV/AIDS. It is designed to be driven by private sector and regulated by public sector.

Several partners have joined in the National response and many activities are being implemented by various stakeholders including NGO's, Donor Agencies, and Public sector at all levels of government. These partners observed that the use of just Radio, Television and Newspapers (conventional media) did not seem to favourably capture the interest of people in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Therefore, they adopted a multi dimensional communication strategy which includes participation of all stakeholders in the fight against the scourge.

This research is aimed at analyzing one of such activities implemented by one of the partners, the Society for Family Health within Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State i.e using enter-educate communication approach. This Non Governmental Organisation implements the Global Fund Round 5 which commenced in January 2007. The goal of the project was to reduce HIV/AIDS related mortality and morbidity. Furthermore, the Society for Family Health adopted the ‘Enhanced National Response (ENR)’ programme on 19th January, 2009 which is aimed at ensuring sustained behaviour change towards the perception of HIV/AIDS. The ENR is a 6- year program funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and is operational in seven selected states in Nigeria out of which is Kaduna State.

All these policies are geared toward sustained behaviour change in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

According to the Kaduna State Agency for the Control of Aids (KADSACA) 2014 reports, Kaduna State was second highest states with HIV prevalence rate of 7% in 2008. It further estimated that in 2007, about 177,600 people were living with HIV/AIDS in Kaduna State and 14,900 pregnant women were HIV positive while 29,600 adults and 6200 children were in need of Anti Retroviral Therapy in the state

Considerably less sex workers were reached with HIV prevention messages. Whilst consistent condom use has been found to be extremely high among sex workers with their clients, many are not using condoms consistently during sex with partners. However, expanding HIV prevention messages to male sex workers is of particular importance, as condom use with clients is extremely low among this group, particularly in comparison to female sex workers.

The high HIV prevalence reported among high-risk groups, as well as their link to the general population should place these individuals at the centre of HIV prevention programmes. Nevertheless, HIV prevention messages are not sufficiently reaching people that fall within these groups. One of the major barriers to accessing HIV prevention programmes for sex workers are laws that prohibit their activities. For example, same-sex relations in Nigeria are criminalised with 14 years imprisonment. There is concern that this will limit access to commercial sex workers community to HIV services.

Another contending factor that hinders the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria is the issue of Sex education especially in Northern part of the country. Sex is traditionally a very private subject in the country and its discussion with teenagers is often seen as inappropriate. It is evident that some groups, particularly religious and cultural leaders, have acted as a barrier to previous attempts to provide sex education for young people in Nigeria.

The above reports indicated the existence of a gap between people and HIV/AIDS awareness vis-a-vis other contending factors and the failure of just conventional media coverage about the disease especially in the rural areas. This therefore called for the adoption of more effective and multi-dimensional communication approaches. Society for Family Health (SFH), a non-governmental organisation has since joined other partners in using multi-dimensional communication approach among other factors to ensure sustained behaviour change of people in order to address the upsurge of the menace not only in Kaduna State, but Nigeria at large.

This research therefore, assessed the effectiveness of the use of Edutainment communication strategy- an aspect of Strategic Communication, in reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the most-at- risk groups within Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State, by the Society for Family Health.

1.3       Aim and Objectives of the Study

The main aim of the study is to ascertain the effectiveness of edutainment programmes carried out by the Society for Family Health in changing the behaviours of the high risk groups towards embracing positive sexual activities in order to curb the growth of HIV/AIDS within Kaduna North Local Government Area. The specific objectives therefore are:

1.   To evaluate the relevance of SFH Edutainment strategy to the knowledge of Most-at-Risk-Populations about the existence of HIV/AIDS.

2.    To assess the impact of SFH edutainment strategy on the belief of the Most-at-Risk-Populations towards the HIV/AIDS.

3.   To evaluate the precautionary measures adopted by the Most-at-Risk-Populations in Kaduna North LGA as a result of SFH’s edutainment campaign strategy.

4.   To evaluate the impact of SFH’s edutainment strategy on the perceptions of Most-at-Risk-Populations towards people living with HIV/AIDS.

1.4 Research Questions

This study seeks to find answers to the following questions:

1.      Has the SFH Edutainment programme helped in making the MARPs believe in the existence of HIV/AIDS?

2.      To what extent do the MARPs believe that HIV/AIDS is a deadly disease?

3.      How has the SFH edutainment strategy helped in making MARPs to adopt precautionary measures to prevent themselves from contracting or infecting HIV/AIDS?

4.      How has the SFH’s Edutainment strategy changed people’s perception about People living with HIV/AIDS.

1.5        Significance of the Study

It is constructive to find out the solution- where rudimentary problems arrive in socio- economic, socio- psychological and socio- political structure of the society and then research is conducted to compare the related variable for social relations. Thus, the battle to control HIV/AIDS cuts across the globe. The study will be carried out to test the efficacy of the efforts of an international organisation in changing the behaviours of Most-at-Risk-Populations within Kaduna North LGA. Therefore, this research will be of great significance to International Organisations, Donor agencies, Researchers in the field of mass communication, students and the general public as the menace affects everybody one way or the other.

1.6 Scope of the Study

HIV/AIDS scourge concerns every community in Nigeria and the world at large. As such, data for this study could be gotten from all angles of the society. However, this study focuses on the most-at- risk groups within Kaduna North Local Government Area, to gather data.

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