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This survey sought to examine the role of radio in disseminating family planning messages to young couples and those engaged in Buea, Southwest-Cameroon. The study made use of quantitative design and data was collected from 46 respondents in the locality through questionnaire administration. The findings revealed that radio sufficiently disseminates family planning messages.

However, 29 respondents indicated that they do not implement the messages because they are too busy, still engaged, do not think it is effective, prefer to get family planning tips directly from medical doctors, do not see the need, family planning pills cause weight gain and missed period. The 16 respondents who have been able to implement messages noted that the messages have been useful as it helps to better manage family issues on reproduction, avoid unwanted pregnancy, reduce the childbearing rate and increases their love for their few children.

It is recommended that young couples and those engaged should be fervent listeners of radio especially those radio stations that disseminate family planning messages. This will help them learn family planning tips if implemented will help to ensure a successful home. To an extent, the messages if implemented with help fight against vices such as child neglect, abortion, poor living standard, high birth rate, and depression.



1.1 Background to the study

Although the ability to control fertility can have broad social and economic consequences, social norms and misinformation can discourage contraceptive use in many countries. Concerns about high fertility and low contraceptive prevalence have stimulated policy and program efforts aimed at promoting family planning. Substantial money and time are currently being expended to educate people about the advantages of fewer +children and motivate them to adopt family limitation.

The use of mass media and campaigns to achieve these objectives has recently increased and both government and private agencies are involved in developing and implementing programs through the use of media facilities (JHU/PCS, 1991).

The proponents of this approach have argued that the increasing availability of radio in developing countries can effectively use to influence people’s behaviour. Parlato(1990) argues that the world design media campaign can be effective in creating a positive social environment for behaviour by bringing about a shift in popular opinion. Piotrow (1990) notes that mass media can be a powerful tool not only for creating awareness about new technology but also for stimulating people’s desire for more information and facilitating efforts to apply the information to their own behaviour.

Family planning is regarded as an important preventive measure against maternal and child morbidity and mortality. This study was aimed at determining the knowledge, attitude, and use of family planning methods among women attending a clinic in MolykoBuea and the Government hospital, factors that militate against the use of the contraceptive method, and their contraceptive interventions following index pregnancy. Low levels of modern contraceptive use are taking a toll on women in Cameroon, their families, and the country’s health care system, according to “ Benefits of Meeting the Contraceptive Needs of Cameroonian Women.”

In 2013, approximately 2.3 million sexually active Cameroonian women wanted to delay having a child (72%) or wanted no more children (28%). However, the study found that just 37% of these women were using a modern contraceptive method. Another 18% relied on traditional methods, and 45% used no method at all. This low level of contraceptive use results in high rates of unintended pregnancy and fuels the country’s alarmingly high rate of maternal mortality and illness.

According to research from health personnel of the solidarity hospital and health delegations about 6,000 Cameroonian women die from pregnancy-related causes every year; nearly 30% of these women did not want to become pregnant in the first place.

Many cases of maternal death and disability in Cameroon result from the unsafe abortions that many women resort to when faced with an unintended pregnancy. According to the study, roughly 40% of all pregnancies in the country are unintended, and 36% of these unintended pregnancies end in abortion. Because abortion is highly restricted, the vast majorities of procedures are clandestine and carry a high risk of complications that endanger women’s health and lives.

The new analysis shows that if the need for modern contraceptives were fully met, the benefits would be substantial: There would be 373,000 fewer unintended pregnancies each year than currently occur, which would reduce the numbers of unplanned births, abortions, and miscarriages by 75% each. Furthermore, the number of maternal deaths would decrease by more than 20%.

Meeting just half of the unmet need for modern contraceptives would also result in significant health benefits. There would be nearly 187,000 fewer unintended pregnancies, which would mean 95,000 fewer unplanned births, 65,000 fewer induced abortions, and 600 fewer maternal deaths each year than occur now.

Investing in family planning services would also save money. For every additional dollar, the health system spends on contraceptive services, $1.23 would be saved on maternal and newborn care. Meeting half of the need for modern contraceptives would result in net savings of US$2.7 million (1.3 billion francs) while fulfilling all unmet needs would generate US$5.4 million (2.7 billion francs) in net savings.

In addition to maternal health, newborn health and survival are another priority area for improvement. The Demographic and Health Survey indicates that the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) has remained virtually unchanged over the past 17years. Modern FP methods, which have been documented to be highly effective means of improving maternal health by preventing unintended pregnancies to ensure healthy timing and spacing of births, only account for 37% of FP use in Molyko-Buea.

Moreover, the overall levels of FP use in rural areas continue to remain very low (around 31%), compared to 45% in urban areas. Similarly, women from the poorest households and those with no education have the lowest CPR.

According to an estimate, 70% of induced abortions occur annually in molyko whereby one in seven pregnancies is terminated by induced abortion often performed in clandestine conditions (use drugs) and abortion being used as means to control fertility and an outcome of failed contraception. Out of the total fertility rate (TFR) of 63% in Molyko, 40% of birth is unwanted.

Several structural and sociocultural issues pose a challenge to improving maternal and newborn health (MNH) status in Molyko.  Lack of money, transportation, denial of family permission, or/and distance from health facilities are some of the critical problems the majority of women face.

The average distance to a reproductive health facility in rural areas is larger than that to urban areas which makes access to services for rural women without transportation or funds extremely difficult.  It is also noteworthy that despite the large government infrastructure of primary, secondary, and tertiary care facilities in many areas throughout the country, more than 70% of the population seeks healthcare through the private sector.

Also, the dynamics of decision-making between a husband and wife create barriers to access. Several studies have examined the influence of social and cultural factors on contraceptive use. These studies have emphasized the influence of the mother-in-law and the husband on family planning decision-making and have highlighted the importance of communication between spouses regarding the use of contraception.

Despite the huge benefits, family planning is one of the most difficult and least discussed topics, particularly amongst males in a conservative and patriarchal society where men have the final decision-making power regarding most issues, including reproductive health. Nevertheless, there have been some efforts to target men through either advocacy or behavioural change interventions, but very little has been achieved.

Healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy (HTSP) is a family planning intervention to help women and couples delay, time, space, or limit their pregnancies to achieve the healthiest outcomes for women, newborns, infants, and children regardless of the total number of children. It has been documented that perinatal outcomes and child survival can be improved mainly by lengthening inter-pregnancy intervals. Over about 373000 maternal deaths would be averted because the fertility rate in developing countries has declined and by reducing high parity births family planning contributed to reducing the maternal mortality ratio.

On the contrary, birth to pregnancy intervals of less than 18 months is associated with the risk of low birth weight, preterm birth, and small size for gestational age, and stillbirth. Despite the increased awareness and acknowledgement of birth spacing in improving maternal and child health outcomes, there is little evidence on effective, scalable, and sustainable programs for birth spacing in developing countries like Cameroon, particularly in rural areas. Moreover, there is a need to package evidence in creative ways to support programs, campaigns, and policy decision-making at multiple levels.

“Evidence for Innovating to Save Lives” was a 3 days campaign by the SOLIDARITY HOSPITAL aiming to promote birth spacing and modern contraceptive uptake in poor segments of the population of MOLYKO BUEA. The overall goal of the project was to improve MNH through healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies in rural and underserved areas of molyko, checkpoint.

The study aimed to explore knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning family planning and birth spacing; perceptions about the quality of care; health-seeking behaviour; community need assessment; and barriers and facilitators that influence contraceptive uptake. “Strengthening family planning services would greatly improve the physical and emotional well-being of women and their families,” said Professor GervaisBeninguisse, Director of Development at IFORD, in Yaoundé. “It would also save a considerable amount of money which could be allocated to other critical areas, ultimately accelerating Cameroon’s ability to meet its development goals.” This paper presents the influence of family planning campaign on young couples.

Radio history

If success has many fathers, then radio is one of the world’s greatest successes. Radio is an audio device for passing messages to a large audience. Radio is an audio device for passing messages to a large audience. Radio involves the process by which messages are sent through electrical waves. In other words, the sound could be sent and received through these waves,(Sambe, 2008:75).

According to Idebi (2008:1), the word Radio is defined as the process of sending and receiving messages through the air using electromagnetic waves. It is also about the activity of broadcasting programs for people to listen to the programs being broadcast.

Uyo (1987) argues that radio as a word has its origin in the Latininstrument through which signals are beamed out via electromagnetic process land distributed via a transmitter to a scattered audience who receive it via an antenna on a receiving set. Sambe, (2008) adds that Radio involves the process by which messages are sent through electrical waves. Radio can also be seen as a medium used for sending and receiving messages through the air using electronic waves. It is also about the activity of broadcasting programs for people to listen to the programs being broadcasted (Idebi,2008:1).

It can also be defined as the broadcasting of programs for the public to listen to. It is the system of sending sound over a distance by transmitting electrical signals (BBC English Dictionary, 1992:946). According to Apuke (2014) radio is one of the most important means of communication. Through radio, people send spoken words, music, and other communication signals through the air to any part of the world. Radiobroadcasts now feature music, news, discussion, interviews, description of sports events, and advertising.

People drive to their jobs listening to car radios and spend leisure hours hearing their favourite programs on the radio. Radio also has a wide variety of news in addition to broadcasting aeroplane pilots, astronauts, construction workers, policemen, sailors, and others who do many kinds of jobs use radio for quick communication. Scientists send radio waves into the sky to learn about the weather. Telephone companies send messages by radio as well as telephone.
Characteristics of Radio

As a medium of mass communication, radio has the following characteristics according to Apuke (2014).

  • Portability:

Radio is a very portable device that can be carried about with ease. The portability of the radio makes it possible for people to listen to it wherever they are. With the coming of ICT, we now have radio sets that are as small as handsets.

  • It is a mass medium:

Radio messages can reach people in different localities. Bittner (1989) says that the mass medium makes it possible for the message to reach beyond the immediate proximity of the sender. A mass medium has the ability to send a message globally.

  • Transient messages:

Radio messages are perishable. They are constantly on the move. The audience cannot ask for a repeat of what was not clearly heard because; the messages are on a move. That is why most people say radio does not talk twice.

  • Audio medium:

Radio is a one-sided medium that is it can only be heard and not be seen. This makes it a limited sensory; it only appeals to the sense of hearing. According to Asemah (2009), radio words are the only thing used to create pictures in the minds of the audience.

Other things like sound can also be used to create a mental picture in
the mind of the listener.

  • Cheap: The radio set is affordable. We have radio sets that are as cheap as 2500cfa FRS
  • It requires talent: Radio operation requires talents to operate. It needs the blending of different talents to function well. It is not one-sided in operations. It requires the reporters, sound engineers, etc, to operate.
  • It is competitive: with the advent of many radio stations, it could be said that radio is a highly competitive business as it requires putting up catchy programs to outshine other stations.
  • Requires technology: Radio requires technology (Hardware and software) which are geared towards mass production and wide dissemination.
  • It is mobile: The mobility of the radio makes it unique; it can be moved easily from one place to another without stress.
  • Public: The content of radio (messages) is handled and treated publicly.
  • Impersonal in Nature: The relationship between sender and receiver
    is impersonal.

According to  Folarin (as cited in  Okwu,  Kuku  &  Aba, 2007),  radio has always been a favoured medium of mass communication as it is easily understood by the laymen and the intellectual alike. It also acts as an effective tool of instruction as it can overcome the barrier of distance and reach a larger audience quickly.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Observation shows that there has been an increase in the number of destitute children in Buea. These children could be spotted daily in strategic location begging for alms from passersby. Others as young as 7 years old roam the streets hawking basic commodities such as puff puff, fried, and boiled groundnuts, amongst others.

This increased in the number of destitute and street hawking children could be a result of a lack of family planning methods by their parents. Most parents especially young couples take pleasure in sexual activities to the extent that they neglect family planning tips. The result of such neglect is frequent childbearing. Most times, the couples are not aware of the different family planning tips available. Thus, the researcher is curious to know the role of radio in disseminating family planning messages to society.

1.3 Research questions

RQ1:To what extend does radio influences family planning?

RQ2:What role does the mass media play in sensitizing young couples on family planning?

RQ3: Do young couples appreciate the media role in family planning?

EQ4: What are the effects of the neglect of family planning tips in society?

1.4 General objective

The study aims to assess the role mass media plays in influencing family planning and also how it helps sensitizing young couples on family planning.

1.4.1Specific objectives

The specific objectives of this study are:

  • To know if young couples implement family planning tips
  • To know the radio station that young couples listen to.
  • To know the type of programs that young couples listen to.
  • To assess the effects of a lack of family planning techniques on society.










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