Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

Effect of Mass Media and Africa Traditional Media on HIV/Aids Prevention Social Marketing Campaigns in Nigeria

Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

Effect of Mass Media and Africa Traditional Media on HIV/Aids Prevention Social Marketing Campaigns in Nigeria

Article excerpt


The use of the mass media in social marketing campaigns in the health arena is well-known. The mass media has over the years served as a veritable tool for behavior-change social-marketing campaigns, globally. Kotler (2005:3), observes that social marketing on the other hand is used to influence social behaviors not to benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience and the society in general. It has been used extensively in international health programs of the advanced countries of Europe and America on diverse areas like drug abuse, physical fitness, human trafficking, safe-sex and prevention of communicable diseases like sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the dreaded HIV/AIDS. So, social marketing has proved a very vital tool in heath communication campaigns. This must be why Adirika, Ebue and Nnolim (1997:112) affirmed that social marketing strategies have been employed in public health campaigns to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, as well as family planning campaigns and many more.

Specifically, on the areas of HIV prevention, a social marketing campaign was launched in Nigeria in a bid to raise more public awareness of HIV/AIDS in 2005. This campaign took advantage of the increase in tele-density and ownership of mobile phones in the country, and sent text messages with information about HIV/AIDS to 9 million people (BBC News, 2005). Another high-profile media campaign was fronted by Femi Kuti, the son of Fela Kuti, the famous Afrobeat musician who died of AIDS in 1997. He appeared on billboards alongside roads throughout Nigeria with the slogan "AIDS No Dey Show for Face" which means you can"t tell someone has AIDS by looking at them (Reuters, 2003).

There was also the popular radio programme, Flavour, targeted at HIV/AIDS prevention in society, anti-stigmatization habits and safe-sex habits. In addition, there were radio campaigns by the Society for Family Health aimed at creating awareness on the dangers of HIV and increasing awareness on it and promoting positive behavior towards people living with HIV. Again, there was a radio serial programme in 2001, ""Future Dreams,"" broadcast in nine languages on 42 radio channels in Nigeria. It was aimed at encouraging consistent condom use, increasing knowledge and increasing skills for condom negotiation in single men and women aged between 18 and 34, reports the Population Services International (PSI, 2003). These, helped in reducing the HIV prevalence rate in Nigeria from its pre-2005 rate of 5.4% to the national rate of 3.4% in 2010 (WHO, 2010).

Notwithstanding, social marketing campaigns for the prevention of HIV in some developing countries like Nigeria, have been hindered by social, cultural and religious inhibitions. Restrictions on HIV social marketing products like condom promotion, have been reported in Nigeria from time to time, thereby hampering the HIV prevention efforts in the country. For instance, in 2001, a radio advertisement was suspended by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), for promoting messages suggesting that it is acceptable to engage in premarital sex as long as a condom is used. In 2006 APCON also started to enforce stricter regulations on condom advertisements that might encourage "indecency," (PSI, 2003; UNAIDS, 2006).

Mindful of all these, what impact has social marketing communications strategy had in the campaigns against HIV/AIDS in developing countries? That's the major focus of this paper with special focus on Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world.

Statement of the Problem

In spite of the fact that social marketing is a veritable communications weapon for checkmating the spread of communicable diseases such as the human immune deficiency virus (HIV), there has been a dearth of literature on studies in this area in developing countries like Nigeria. Even though the role of the mass media in health promotion campaigns have been dwelt on extensively in literature, there is a dearth of such literature on Africa traditional media. …

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