The purpose of this study is to examine the relevance of oramedia in the enlightenment and prevention of measles among women in Bateren community, Warri, Delta State. Three research questions were raised for the purpose of solving the research problems. The study adopted descriptive method using convenient sampling method. 108 respondents were selected for the study. Qestionaire was used for data collection. Results revealed the oramedia platforms as community gathering, use of gong and Hieroglyphics/Illustrations. The research results also show that Oramedia platforms play several roles in the promotion of awareness on the prevention of measles in Bateren community. The challenges affecting the use of oramedia in promoting awareness on the prevention of measles in Bateren community were identified. They include that people see it as old fashion method of passing information, it is not often use in promoting awareness and people don’t take messages disseminated through oramedia channels as serious. Hence, oramedia can be said to be very relevant in the enlightenment and prevention of measles among women in Bateren community, Warri, Delta State. The study recommend the modernization of the oramedia platform.
1.1 Background to the study
Since the existence of humans, various systems of communication have been used for the dissemination of information in the society. For instance, in rural areas the Oramedia platforms of communication have remain significant for disseminating information, knowledge, and for mobilising rural dwellers concerning issues and events that threaten their social existence.Temofeh (2016) argues that Oramedia predates the use of modern mass communication channels, as the Oramedia was used to spread information to the receiver without involving mass media channels. A major proponent and father of Oramedia, Ugboajah (1985, 1987) pointed out that Oramedia platforms include; songs, dance, dramas, drumming, storytelling and proverbs. According Ugboajah (1985) the term “Oramedia” is used interchangeably with folk media, traditional media or Ora arts.
Temofeh (2016) observes that Oramedia platforms of communication are indigenous channels of communication that are easily identified by group of people with common culture. Itari, Beshel and Okeme (2015) argue that oramedia which are known as indigenous media channels of communication because they are peculiar to people’s culture and ways of life.
Despite the evolution of modern channels of communication in the 21st century, oramedia continue to play indispensable roles in the promotion of enlightenment campaigns on issues and activities that affect members of the society. The significance of oramedia of communication cut across various aspect of human endeavours: economics, politics, health and education, especially in the rural areas where access to modern communication platforms is nearly non-existent. Asemah (2011) argues that oramedia, also known as the traditional media of communication have stood the test of time mainly in developing countries like Nigeria, where access to modern communication platforms is still largely an urban affair.
Anaeto and Solo-Anaeto (2010)aver that in rural areas, there is preference in the use of oramedia in disseminating information because of several factors. These include, illiteracy among rural dwellers. In emerging economies like Nigeria, illiteracy is still prevalent especially in rural areas. Since the modern media platforms of communication require certain levels of literacy for it usage, oramedia becomes the effective channels for communication since messages disseminated through these platforms required no level of literacy on the part of the receivers.
The unavailability of power supply is another factor which makes oramedia a preferred choice in rural areas. This is because, most rural areas in Nigeria are either yet to be connected to the national power grid or still have a fair share of the unstable power supply which is common both in rural and urban centres (Anaeto and Solo-Anaeto, 2010).
Oramedia platforms of communication include the various communication platforms through which information are spread through words of mouth. Watson and Hill (2012) aver that oramedia are the various channels of exchanging information and meanings mainly through the words of mouth. The use of pictures to communicate meanings and information complement the use of these media platforms for disseminating information. Asemah (2011) argues that the use of oramedia is effective in disseminating information among rural dwellers, particularly in rural settings where literacy required for reading and writing is relatively low.
Oramedia refer to the traditional media of communication which predate modern mass media channels. Ndolo (2006) cited in Asemah (2011) observes that the growth, existence and continuity of any society largely depend on among other things, a system of communication through which members of the society could engage in communication (exchanges of ideas and feelings). The argument proves that despite the invention, advancement and use of modern communication platforms, Oramedia of communication remain significant communication tools in places where access to modern communication remains grim.
As society evolve the need to attain societal goals, requires a system of communication regardless of its sophistication. Societal goals will continue to remain unrealistic where there is absence of any means or structure forcarrying out communication. Therefore, Oramedia of communication serve as important tools in achieving the objectives of the society. Sambe (2008) argues that since without communication the human society cannot exist, humans have continued to seek for any available structure of communication since creation, to enable them realise the potentials of the society. This proves why Oramedia of communication continued to serve as relevant tools for spreading information, ideas and meanings especially among rural dwellers.
Asemah (2011) opines that in some parts of Nigeria, rural dwellers still rely on information disseminated through the Oramedia platforms. Inhabitants of rural areas easily trust in Oramedia platforms which they can easily identify with compared to the modern or contemporary media platforms. Such rural dwellers easily identify with the Oramedia which they considered as part of their culture. Among such rural dwellers, Oramedia are relevant in promoting meaningful and tremendous social changes in the society. These forms of communication promote communication and dissemination of information that are relevant to the society. In preventing the spread of epidemic such as measles, the use of Oramedia to distribute information, messages and ideas may prove to be effective means of promoting enlightenment campaigns on prevention of the epidemic especially in rural areas.
Oramedia could be used effectively in carrying out enlightenment campaigns among rural women who are custodian of culture and continue to hold on to traditional belief systems and practices relating to health problems such as measles which could easily be prevented. Ivieh (2015) notes that oramedia could be usefulin educating women on ways of preventing epidemic such as measles while disseminating messages on the prevention of the disease. It is against this background that this study seeks to examine the relevance of Oramedia in the enlightenment of rural women on the prevention of measles particularly as it relates to disseminating information on the prevention of the disease among dwellers in Bateren community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta state.
1.2 Statement of Problem
It seems that most women in Bateran community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State are not fully aware that the spread of measles could be easily prevented. It is also likely that Oramedia platforms have not be fully used in carrying out enlightenment on the prevention of the epidemic in the community. This is because, Oramedia channels of communication appear to be effective channels for promoting awareness campaigns on the prevention of measles, especially in rural areas where the spread of the epidemic has continued to threaten human lives and wellbeing.
In promoting healthy social living in rural areas, Oramedia of communication also seem to play vital role in communicating information on the prevention of measles. Oramedia could be deploy in carrying out enlightenment to educate, inform and sensitize members of the community on how to prevent the spread of measles while ensuring healthy living in the society.
In Bateren community, low level of awareness on the prevention of measles and traditional beliefs among members of the community, may also account for the spread of measles in the community. Engaging in behaviours that expose the entire community to measles is likely to also accounts for the spread of the disease in the community. It is against this background that this study seeks to examine the relevance of Oramedia in promoting enlightenment on the prevention of measles among women of Bateren community.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This study will focus on achieving the following:
1. To ascertain if oramedia are used for promoting awareness on the prevention of measles in Bateren community.
2. To determine the roles played by oramedia in the promotion of awareness on the prevention of measles in Bateren community.
3. To ascertain the challenges affecting the effective use of oramedia in promoting awareness on the prevention of measles in Bateren community.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions which will provide answers to the problems been investigated by this study:
1. What oramedia platforms are used for promoting awareness on the prevention of measles in Bateren community?
2.What roles do Oramedia platforms play in the promotion of awareness on the prevention of measles in Bateren community?
3. What are the challenges affecting the use of oramedia in promoting awareness on the prevention of measles in Bateren community?
1.5 Significance of Study
This study aims at contributing to knowledge on the relevance of Oramedia in promoting awareness on health issues that affects the society. This will highlight the importance of Oramedia as channels of communication capable of addressing social issues confronting the society and instilling in the larger society values and attitudes that would assist them lead safer and better lives as members of the society.
It would highlight the importance of Oramedia platforms in distributing information concerning issues which pose threats to the survival and sustenance of the society, despite the growth and ongoing transformation of communication platforms in the twenty-first century where communication platforms continue to transform massively and become highly sophisticated.
The study will also reveal the lapses of social institutions of government, non-government agencies and the public in making efforts in promoting the dissemination of information on the prevention of epidemics such as measles in developing countries like Nigeria. It will also reveal efforts of social institutions such as international donor agencies and organisations such as World Health Organisation (WHO), in promoting awareness capable of spreading information on the prevention of epidemics in rural areas where epidemics remain common among the inhabitants.
Also, the study would be of immense value to researchers and students in the field of communication and those interested in carrying out related studies in the future, on the relevance of Oramedia channels of communication in promoting awareness on health issues as it relates to human lives in the society.
1.6 Scope of the Study
Due to the limited time frame and resources available for this study, the scope of the research work was limited to the use of Oramedia channels in Bateren community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, especially as it affects the use of the Oramedia platforms of communication for promoting awareness on the prevention of measles. In addition, the scope of the study was limited to women in Bateren community. This will enable the researcher to derive data for the study and limit the scope of the research to a manageable limit. The study will sample women in Bateren community as they are directly involved in seeking solutions for the treatment of measles.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Enlightenment: Enlightenment refers to the role of the Oramedia platforms as channels of promoting knowledge or understanding concerning issues affecting members of the society.
Epidemic: An epidemic is the rapid spread of infectious disease to many people in a within a defined geographical location and within a short period of time, usually two weeks or less.
Health Communication: Health communication refers to communication activities involving the use of mass media channels to disseminate promotional health related information such as public health campaigns, health education in the society.
Measles:Measles is an infectious disease which causes fever and a red rash on the skin. It mainly affects children but can occur at any age. Measles is a viral infection of the respiratory system. Measles is a very contagious disease that can spread through contact with infected mucus and it is recorded that Nigeria still tops the chart of country where many children are not immunized as preventative measures against the disease.
Oramedia: Oramedia refers to various traditional means or channels of communication used for spreading information especially in remote areas where access to modern communication channels is inadequate.
Promotion: This concept refers to the role of the Oramedia channels of communication in disseminating information to members of the society, and capable of educating, sensitizing, advocating, popularizing the need to support efforts aimed at developing the society for the benefits of the members of the society.
Rural Area: This refers to remote geographical area that is located outside towns and cities.
Relevance: This refers to the outcomes, consequencesor usefulness in using Oramedia platforms of communication in the society particularly as it relates to dissemination of information on the prevention of measles through these platforms.
Rural women: Rural women are women who live daily in rural areas.
Society:This refers to a historically developing whole for the sake enlightening practical consciousness, building a collective political will and national guiding practice. It is also a system of self-preservation, a relatively independent self-perpetuating human group, which occupies geographical territory and has association with other groups.
1.8 Theoretical Framework
The uses and gratification communication theory provide explanationon how the audience of media channels chooses the kind of medium and contents that they will expose themselves to. This choice is usually based on certain benefits or rewards they feel their choice would give them. The theory was developed in 1970 by Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld.
Baran and Davies (2009) argues that the thrust of the theory is aimed at challenging and changing the dominant thought of communication research from ‘How the Media Affect People?’ to ‘What People do with the Media?’ The basic thrusts of the uses and gratification theory are; examining the rationale behind the preference of media audience to a medium and what benefits they (the audience) derive from such choice(s) or preference. The theory also focuses attention on why do people use the media, the way they do and what are people looking for or benefits they are expected to get from their use of the media? In other words, the theory seeks to answer the question: why are people becoming active audience or users of the media? And, are people satisfied with the active use of the media?
According to Baran and Davies, (2009) the goal of the theory, which became popular during the 1960s and 1970s when television viewing was expanding, was to gain more useful understanding of what people were doing with the media in their day-to-day living, i.e., examining; what people were doing when they use the media? Are the media audience passive consumers of media contents or are the media contents serving much important purposes to them? Are the audiences just passive or active in their use of the media? Do they get the expected gratification they seek from their choice of the media and media contents?
Popoola (2010) outlined the assumptions and prepositions of the uses and gratification theory to include; the mass media audiences are active, the audiences freely select the media and the content that they can best use to gratify their needs, the media are not only the source where the audience seek gratification, the audience members are or can be made aware of their interest and motives in certain cases and the mass media has no effect in determining the use and gratification of its audience.
The theory also postulates that the free choice of the media audiences to using the media and its content arise from the fact that the media is not the only source that provide certain gratification or benefits or need satisfaction to the audience. The media as a source of providing satisfaction or gratification to the audiences compete with other sources of need satisfactions away from the use of the media. In their free choice of the use of the media or media content, the uses and gratification theorists assumed that the media audiences in certain moment are conscious of their motives in the use of the media or its content, while at other time the media make them to be conscious of their interest and motives for the use of the media or its contents.
Kate, Guretitich and Haas (1973) cited in Emenyeonu (2014, p.64) described the uses and gratification theory as an approach to the study of the media behaviour of individuals who are audiences of the mass media. This suggests that the media audiences often bend their media exposure to their needs rather than have the media over power them. The media audiences in the uses and gratification theory use the media not only out of their free choice but out of their value judgments of the media and not from the cultural significance of the media to them.
McQuail (2010) observes that the needs which media audiences seek from their uses of the mass media and media contents are the needs for information, relaxation, companionship, diversion or escape. These needs that media audiences seek from their uses of the media can also be refer to as motives for the use of the media.
Therefore, the uses and gratification theory to a large extent provides basis in understanding the preference of rural dwellers in the use of Oramedia for carrying out enlightenment campaign. This points to the fact rural dwellers who are the target audience of the Oramedia channels are likely to choose the oramedia as their sources of getting information. The choice and preference most often may be what expected benefits they feel such action would grant or benefit them. The expected benefits the rural dwellers are likely to gain from choosing the Oramedia as their sources of information may be that oramedia channels have proven to be channels of communication that are considered credible as sources of information.
The theory also provides basis to understanding that Oramedia channels of communication serve as sources of need gratification for rural dwellers who develop interest in sourcing their information from the traditional media channels which compete with other sources of need satisfaction. Other reasons for the use of oramedia for carrying out enlightenment campaigns in rural areas may be because they are media channels that are indigenous which the people could easily identified. Therefore, Oramedia channels meet the need gratification of the rural dwellers.
Development Media Theory
The thrust of the development media theory stipulates that concern for the society, the media channels of communication are deployed in communicating development related issues that affect the society. Asemah (2011) observes that the development media theory holds the assumptions that in communicating development related issues, the communication media become useful in spreading informationon issues that affect members of the society. The theory according to Asemah was propounded by McQuail in 1987.
McQuail (2010) argues that the development media theory speculates that in communicating information on issues relating development, media channels should be in the forefront or vanguard, which will determine the pace of development in the society. In other words, the pace of development to a large extent is determined basically by on how the communication media channels are deployed in communicating information that can advance the development of the society and quite significantly, it is also determined by the extent to which the media channels are used in communicating development related issues.
McQuail (2010) cited in Wogu (2008) avers that the theory has the following principal tenets:
- Communication media channel should be used in accomplishing development tasks in line with nationally established policy.
- Freedom of the communication media channels should be open to restriction according to:
(i) Economic priorities and (ii) Development needs of society.
- Media channels should give priority in disseminating news and information to on development is being achieved in countries which are close geographically.
- In the interest of development, the society has right to intervene or restrict media operations, and devices of censorship, subsidy and direct control can be justified.
- Communication experts and professionals have responsibilities and freedoms in their information gathering and dissemination tasks.
The theory was adopted as the thematic framework for this study to explain how oramedia channels of communication areuseful in spreading and communicating information that are capable offosteringhealth development in rural areas. Since the spread of killer diseases are common in rural areas and impede the social development of the areas, the use of oramedia channels of communication becomenecessary in spreading information that will assist people in rural areas to be better inform on how to prevent the spread of epidemics that threatens the well-being of children.