Media inputs in health information and education - the case of the Kumasi Metropolis

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All over the world, both private and public media have been used for information, education and entertainment. Private print and electronic media have come to stay in Ghana. These have played a very important role in informing and educating many people about health and other issues. The health information given by the media has not been assessed. It is, therefore, not known whether the media is providing guided, correct and adequate health information that is easy to understand or not. This study set out to find out what inputs the media houses in Kumasi have put in place for health information. The study was descriptive and cross sectional, involving 5 television stations, 12 FM radio stations, 7 widely patronised newspapers, 30 health personnel in decision-making positions at the facility level and 4 focus groups of 12 to 13 individuals each. Questionnaires, observation and focus group discussion schedules were used for data collection. The variables were scored and graded. The study revealed that the media did fairly good in using understandable language, providing correct information and making health information easy to understand. However, there had not been enough effort to ensure collaboration with health authorities, monitoring and assessment of health information, provision of guidelines for broadcasting of health information and the use of a high calibre of media personnel for health programs and articles. It was concluded that the performance of the media in Kumasi was fairly good. Recommendations were made towards improving the performance of the media in health information and education. Key words: Media, time, language, guidelines, collaboration, assessment, feedback.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of in Health Services Planning and Management, 2002