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HYGIE. 1993 Mar; 12(1):5-9.This article describes four radio soap operas, which were produced as part of larger family planning campaigns in The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. A summary is provided of the program evaluations of impacts on listenership, interpersonal communication, knowledge and attitudes, and behavior. All dramas are 15 minutes in length and were broadcast one or twice a week. The main characters are average men and women who must face the difficulties of raising large families or couples benefiting from small families. Modern and traditional values are contrasted. Evaluation includes a baseline survey, a follow-up survey, a survey of new acceptors, services statistics, interviews with listeners, and marketing surveys. All four dramas were popular. Audience feedback indicated people enjoyed the programs. Listenership was lowest in Nigeria, however low listenership could have been related to poor reception from rural battery operated radios or a power outage in urban areas. The program led to considerable discussion about family planning between friends and spouses. Discussion was widespread in Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Survey knowledge and attitude increases were evident in The Gambia. Knowledge and attitude changes affected both men and women and were greater among uneducated survey respondents. Results from other countries confirmed the changes in knowledge and attitude about family planning. The programs had a dominant impact on women. The findings are viewed as supportive of radio dramas as effective tools in attitude and behavior change about family planning. In The Gambia prevalence of contraceptives increased between the two surveys from 19.3% to 30.4%. Persons who listened to the radio dramas were most likely to use contraception than those who did not hear the shows. The program increased the number of new acceptors. The radio drama format was more effective in reaching men than pamphlets and motivational talks.
Interview with Mr. Morkeh-Yamson, Public Relations Co-ordinator, National Population Census Secretariat.
Popleone. 1985 Aug; 2(3):8-11.In an interview, Morkeh-Yamson, the public relations coordinator for the National Population Census Secretariat (Sierra Leone) stated that the success or failure of any population census depends ultimately on the cooperation of the public to respond willingly to the questionnaire. To realize this, the census publicity strategy must be directed towards educating the population on the need for and the benefits which would result from the 1985 National Population Census. Sierra Leone's publicity program is aimed at motivating the general public for maximum cooperation during the enumeration. The publicity campaign has been structured to cover the various target groups, with program content designed to meet the perceived requirements of each group. At the public relations level, contacts have been established with most of the important institutions in the country. At the level of the masses, the basic effort has consisted of public meetings, street campaigning, and film shows at which the census message is conveyed. In the province, it is effective to operate at the grassroots level, through the paramount chiefs and chiefdom authorities. The school publicity program works to involve all the secondary schools. On return to their respective schools, teachers are expected to explain and disseminate the census message in some organized form to their students. In addition, there has been wide press and radio coverage of census activities. At this stage it is rather presumptuous to make any definite pronouncement as to the effectiveness of the publicity strategy, but there are indications that the campaign is progressively achieving its goals in terms of evoking popular support at the grassroots level. During the last 4 days of May 1985 the Census Secretariat carried out a pilot census in 57 specially selected enumeration areas covering the entire country. The objective was to test certain aspects of the modalities of the census operation, including the effectiveness of the publicity campaign. The degree of support and cooperation revealed by the favorable reaction of most of the respondents to the census questionnaire suggests that the publicity strategy is achieving results. In answering the question of how much success has been achieved in correcting the negative attitudes toward the census exercise, Morkeh-Yamson reported that instances of negative attitudes toward the census have been minimal. He also indicated that a serious handicap in the publicity campaign is the inadequacy of the national radio coverage and that more vehicle and mobile cinema vans are needed. Morkeh-Yamson urged readers to cooperate with the census and to help create awareness about the census so that other people also would cooperate.
Journal of Communication. 1985 Spring; 35(2):69-81.Diaspora Jewry is being diminished in numbers by intermarriage, assimilation, and a low birth rate. In Israel, the establishment has strongly pronatalist convictions and tends to see family planning as synonymous with promotion of the use of contraception to limit births. In 1978 and 1979, a series of programs entitled "It's Not A Children's Game" was broadcast on Israel's state-owned radio broadcasting system. The motto of the series was "to help families have as many children as they want, when they want them." Its goals were to give the public basic information about services and about various means of contraception or of fertility improvement. The letters to the radio station in response to these programs are analyzed in this study. Based on the form and content of the letters, one is able to derive information about the marital status, sex, residence, and religious observance of the letter writers and to classify them as primarily help-seekers or opinion-givers. Help-seeking letters were usually very clear and direct in their requests for help. The opinion-giving letters ranged from strongly negative to strongly positive about the program and the theme of family planning. These letters can provide insights about the specific group of people who sought information or help outside of their immediate surroundings. Thus, an analysis of the written responses to a radio series on family planning suggests that radio can offer a nonthreatening way to disseminate information on sensitive and controversial social issues, and that it is possible to tentatively identify subgroups with special needs.