National surveys have shown the progressively poor sexual and reproductive health indices of the average Nigerian (NDHS, 2008). What is more frightening about this trend is the fact that adolescents and youth who constitute over onethird of Nigeria’s population have continued to bear the overwhelming burden of the poor sexual and reproductive health status of Nigerians particularly the scourge of HIV/AIDS infections (USAID, 2010; NARHS, 2003, 2005). The implication of this disheartening trend is that adolescents and young people who are crucial to the future of Nigeria’s economic and social well-being are significantly being lost to the vicissitudes of poor sexual and reproductive health conditions. This is in spite of the growing number of sexual and reproductive health programmes targeted at canvassing a variety of interventions in addressing the poor sexual and reproductive health conditions of adolescents. Research findings have suggested the factors that have been responsible for the failure of these programmes to include those of failing to link with the sources of information, to those of under serving of vulnerable populations of adolescents, to those of failing to provide services required by adolescents (USAID, 2010). Further, analysis of programme delivery showed that services which were critical to the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents such as counselling, skills empowerment, and information networks were not being provided. The adolescent dilemma has therefore been identified as a lack of information to make informed decisions on sexuality issues (USAID, 2010). Although the report acknowledged that many adolescents pick up information from friends, and the media; the pieces of information they acquire are said to be inaccurate and misleading. The situation was much the same with parents and guardians as it was reported that information they provided was often censored due to traditional values and norms that forbid open discussion on sexuality. The foregoing is therefore a clear indication that public communication of adolescents’ sexual health risks in Nigeria is a major challenge because of failure in programmatic communication, communication of inaccurate/misleading information, and censorship in the transmission of relevant sexuality information (which is scientific in nature). The report (USAID, 2010) however suggested social marketing services as a critical model for qualitative public communication of adolescent sexual and reproductive health risk information. This study is therefore designed to assess the direction and extent of influence of mobile technology platforms (as social marketing channels) on the public communication of (the scientific information of) adolescents’ sexual health risks in Nigeria. Survey will be used for the study; data for the survey will be collected from a sample of 379 respondents (drawn from providers of adolescents’ sexual health services, adolescents’ sexual health policy makers, and donor agencies in the adolescents’ sexual health sector) using a 13 item self-developed instrument: Mobile Technologies and Adolescents Sexual Health Risk Communication Questionnaire (MTASHRCQ). Data analysis will hinge on both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Therefore, frequency tables, simple percentages, and the statistical package for social sciences will be engaged in data analysis.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Engaging mobile technologies in adolescents sexual health risk communication in Nigeria

Nicholas Iwokwagh   Federal University of Technology, Nigeria

National surveys have shown the progressively poor sexual and reproductive health indices of the average Nigerian (NDHS, 2008). What is more frightening about this trend is the fact that adolescents and youth who constitute over onethird of Nigeria’s population have continued to bear the overwhelming burden of the poor sexual and reproductive health status of Nigerians particularly the scourge of HIV/AIDS infections (USAID, 2010; NARHS, 2003, 2005). The implication of this disheartening trend is that adolescents and young people who are crucial to the future of Nigeria’s economic and social well-being are significantly being lost to the vicissitudes of poor sexual and reproductive health conditions. This is in spite of the growing number of sexual and reproductive health programmes targeted at canvassing a variety of interventions in addressing the poor sexual and reproductive health conditions of adolescents. Research findings have suggested the factors that have been responsible for the failure of these programmes to include those of failing to link with the sources of information, to those of under serving of vulnerable populations of adolescents, to those of failing to provide services required by adolescents (USAID, 2010). Further, analysis of programme delivery showed that services which were critical to the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents such as counselling, skills empowerment, and information networks were not being provided. The adolescent dilemma has therefore been identified as a lack of information to make informed decisions on sexuality issues (USAID, 2010). Although the report acknowledged that many adolescents pick up information from friends, and the media; the pieces of information they acquire are said to be inaccurate and misleading. The situation was much the same with parents and guardians as it was reported that information they provided was often censored due to traditional values and norms that forbid open discussion on sexuality. The foregoing is therefore a clear indication that public communication of adolescents’ sexual health risks in Nigeria is a major challenge because of failure in programmatic communication, communication of inaccurate/misleading information, and censorship in the transmission of relevant sexuality information (which is scientific in nature). The report (USAID, 2010) however suggested social marketing services as a critical model for qualitative public communication of adolescent sexual and reproductive health risk information. This study is therefore designed to assess the direction and extent of influence of mobile technology platforms (as social marketing channels) on the public communication of (the scientific information of) adolescents’ sexual health risks in Nigeria. Survey will be used for the study; data for the survey will be collected from a sample of 379 respondents (drawn from providers of adolescents’ sexual health services, adolescents’ sexual health policy makers, and donor agencies in the adolescents’ sexual health sector) using a 13 item self-developed instrument: Mobile Technologies and Adolescents Sexual Health Risk Communication Questionnaire (MTASHRCQ). Data analysis will hinge on both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Therefore, frequency tables, simple percentages, and the statistical package for social sciences will be engaged in data analysis.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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