Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

A Survey of the Needs and Utilization of Health Information among Young Adults in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

A Survey of the Needs and Utilization of Health Information among Young Adults in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

It is recognised that young people experience difficulties in accessing mainstream health services, particularly because of the stigma associated with certain health conditions like mental health, early pregnancy and Hormone Infection Virus/Acquired Immunisation Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) (Horgan and Sweeney, 2010). Potential solution is to use media resources offering information and support for health problems. Young adults' access to health information is a function of their ability to search for and find answers to their health related questions. Media resources like television (TV), radio, newspapers, magazines, video, electronic readers and Internet can be valuable sources of health information that can help youth understand their health issues.

Information is the first step to every healthy choice. This requires full access to information about the human body, their workings in health and illness, and the services available in treatment and care, support and cooperation (Gann, 1986). Health information has been described as information on a continuum between health education and health promotion. Therefore, access to health information contributes to health education and promotes healthy lifestyle choices. Rolinson (1998) noted that advocacy for health information was a major shift in philosophy from the treatment of the illness in an individual to the development of a healthy nation of individuals. He noted further that prevention rather than cure had emerged as the way forward for public health and health care for young adults should be provided by the primary health sector. It is imperative that health information for young people be made available on all health issues and not only sexual behaviour and the use of drugs. Health information messages are disseminated to the young adults from many directions, organisations and people, departments of health, health promotion, family planning clinics, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, school nurses, social workers, friends, peer groups and youth organisations. This is done with the use of diverse media which includes magazines, newspapers, television, e-book, ereaders (i phone, i pod and android) and Internet.

In the past, people may call a health professional or friend when they are challenged with health issues. Due to the widening network of both online and off the line sources in diverse medium, people now read blog, listen to radio, TV or podcasts and once they find health information online, they tend to also talk with someone about it offline. Media resources have helped to accelerate the pace of discovery of health issues and sharpen the questions people might ask when they talk to health professionals. Technology can help to enable human connection in health care because it assists people to have the ability of sharing what they are doing or thinking. For example, the use of telemedicine has helped to shape professional ideas among health professionals around the world. Also, the use of computerised equipment such as ECG machine, CT scan and computerised BP analysis have also helped to establish definite diagnosis. Electronic media in particular had helped people in tracking their workout routines, posting reviews of their medical treatments and raising awareness about certain health conditions. For example, the Internet provides access not only to information but to know others with particular health issues. Young adults use media for different purposes in different places. According to Vahlberg (2010) they split their media time among many activities which include social networking, watching video, exchanging instant messages, viewing graphics and photos, listening to music, watching TV, playing games, looking for information and news.

Good health is an indispensable prerequisite for the socio-economic development of any country. At independence, Nigeria inherited from the colonial government a system of health care that stressed purely curative services. …

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