RELEVANCE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN HEALTH INSTITUTIONS (A CASE STUDY OF EKITI STATE TEACHING HOSPITAL, ADO-EKITI).

CHAPTER ONE

1.0       INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

            Whether an organization is profit oriented, non-profit oriented, public or private there is need for understanding between the internal or external publics. Similarly for any serious organization to grow, survive and maintain its reputation at all time there is need to involve public relations practice in its strategy to achieve its goals.    

            The PR department or unit deals with the management of both internal and external publics of Ekiti State Hospital. The PR department is responsible for the promotion and implementations of the hospital’s marketing and communication programmes that are related to overall missions and visions of the hospital.

            Also, it manages and improves the flow of information within the hospital and between the hospital and the community it serves.

            Public relations professionals have a role to play in helping management to keep in touch with their various publics because the role of PR within an organisation has become that of a spokesperson to the management, they actively solicit both employee and consumer opinion and make management aware of the effects various decisions will have on clients.   

            This is similar to the Two-way symmetric PR Model (by Grung and Hunt) which includes equality of communication using extensive dialogue and exchanges of views to change attitudes in order to reach the need of the other. The PR department should also serve as liaisons to the community and work closely with other health partners in the locality in preventive health.

            According to Roger Hayward as quoted by Adegoke (2001) public relations is the propagation of the personality of the organization. This state the importance of communication between the organization and its publics.

            The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) cited in Arowosegbe (2004) defines public relations as:

A distinctive management function which helps to establish and main mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and operation between an organization and its public.

The International Public Relations Association of Mexico in North America defines public relations as:

The art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organisations’ leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which serve both the organisation’s public interest.

However, the non-profit organisations today are using public relations as a key strategy to reach their audience and to establish a sustainable.

            Public relations department is saddles with these functions in the hospital:

  1. Writing and distributing news release
  2. Writing feature on health matters and send to the newspapers, radio stations, television stations, blogs and social media 
  3. Witting of newsletters,
  4. Building and maintain media relations
  5. Organizing press conference,
  6. Featuring on interview on radio and television
  7. Public relations department is responsible for community relations.
  8. It over sees hospital publications such as calendar, fliers, brochure, etc.

            It is against this backdrop that the research examines the relevance of public relations in health institution, a case study of Ekiti State Hospital, Ado Ekiti with the view to know the extent at which public relations department has enhanced the performance of the State Hospital.  

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