1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Good health is the desire of every individual. The attainment of a good health depends on the individual’s ability to live a positive lifestyle. Good health is hard to be obtain entirely as human needs cannot be completely satisfied at any given time physically, one maybe healthy, but socially, mentally and otherwise one may not be healthy. Good health is motivated by one’s lifestyle the way we appreciate things that come our way determines how we manage stress which is one of the silent killers. Also, our behavior or attitude about exercise (physical activates)͕ nutrition substance (alcohol, drug and cigarette) intake, healthy sexual life amongst others, all determines our health. However, factual health information is needed to aid the individuals, groups and communities to assimilate effects of these to their lives. Information affects the perspective of the recipient enhances should be communicated to the understanding of the people. Information given to clients/ patients should be planned to suit the needs of the people. Different communication tools are often used as part of an effective communication plans and must serve its purpose. The strategic or plans adopted should be skillful to bring about positive change in behavior. Skillful strategies adopted in communication opens way for proper understanding of health issues that affects the people and calls for behavioral change. Achievement of good health depends upon adopting good health practices and avoiding those practices that are detrimental to health. Health education encourages healthy practice of life styles, prevents disease, reduces disabilities and promotes the well-being of people. Health education which aims at bringing Change in health behavior must be tailored to the specific type of communication and tools that makes the outmost sense to the target audience. Therefore, Beato, Richrdo and Jana  explained that improving health literacy is achieved by disseminating health information that influences personal health choices. “The enhancement, maintenance and sustenance of health require community health related information. To sustain and promote healthy behavior, health communication is very paramount. Health communication serves as the medium that is used to create awareness to the individual group and communication on health related issues. Health education provides knowledge, skills and capacity to assist individuals, groups and communities in identifying health needs, obtaining information and resources and mobilizing them to achieve change. A Healthy nation is a wealthy nation. This popular axiom emphasizes the significant position of health in the development of any nation. The sense in the axiom is simple – it takes a healthy person to work or attend to obligations, duties, assignments, tasks and jobs in every society. It is this attending to various tasks and endeavors by healthy individuals that result in a Nations wealth and development. The thought expressed here presents much concern to most nation’s government and institutions who realize the indispensable role of health in accentuating national development. Health communication is the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence choices people make about their health. Health information technology includes digital tools and services used to enhance patients’ self-care, assist in patient-provider communication, inform health behaviors and decisions, prevent health complications, and promote health equity. Messages are shared through channels such as mass media, print materials, social media, mobile phone applications (apps), e-mail, text messaging, tele health services, and face to-face conversations. Health communication and health information technology enables health professionals and the public to search for, understand, and use health information to significantly impact their health decisions and actions. (Health Communication and Health Information Technology 2017) This study provides proven intervention strategies—including programs and services—to develop successful health communication and health information technology interventions. It can aid decision makers in both public and private sectors make choices about what health communication strategies are best for their communities. Combine health communication strategies with other interventions to promote awareness and encourage appropriate health behaviors, such as getting cancer screening, receiving recommended vaccinations, and reducing tobacco use. Develop interactive digital interventions to improve blood pressure control using digital devices that provide personalized, automated guidance on blood pressure self-management. Combine activity monitors with interventions that include behavioral instruction through group-based or web-based education to increase physical activity. Implement text messaging interventions to increase medication adherence among patients with chronic medical conditions. Develop tele health interventions that use electronic or digital media to improve care among adults who have diet-affected chronic diseases. Implement diabetes self-management mobile phone apps within healthcare systems to improve blood glucose. Therefore, the study seeks to examine health communication and its implication on health inhabitants of Obio Akpor L.G.A in Rivers State.
Health communication affords the society some of the following essential things such as, Information: One is made to know what is going on around him. Cross - fertilization of ideas: One is made to have access to other people’s views and borrow such, where they undoubtedly hold more water than his. Avoidance of security and health risk: One is kept abreast of certain things which may pose health risks and insecurity to him and society. Innovation and change: One is kept abreast of good changes and he sees the inadequacy or danger, which he has been hitherto oblivious of in an opinion which he holds. Communication promises to play a larger role in the future. It is in the lights of this that we shall look at health communication and its implication on health inhabitants of Obio Akpor L.G.A. Health communication had once concentrated on meeting targets for members or audiences but it has developed to turn its focus on enabling informed individual choice. In the overall and final analysis, health communication has now become, more functionally prominent, more empirical and a more strategic ingredient of health (Williams, 2010; Rogers et al, 2011). Indeed, in Nigeria as in other part of the world, health communication has now attained the status of not only the steering wheel but also the pivot on which the wheel of public health rotate.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine health communication and its implication on health inhabitants of Obio Akpor L.G.A in Rivers State. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
This study will help in creating awareness on the role of health communication in improving the health of individuals. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to health communication and its implication on health inhabitants of Obio Akpor L.G.A in Rivers State.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Health: is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in which disease and infirmity are absent.
Communication: is the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.
Health communication: is transferring or giving information persuading, influencing or warning clients/ patients about risky behavior.
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