SOAP OPERA AS A TOOL FOR PROMOTING EBOLA VIRUS AWARENESS

ABSTRACT: The research examined the contributions of soap opera to the prevention of ebola virus in Nigeria. One of the means used to contained ebola spread in Nigeria is through dramatic communication. Survey research method was adopted in which 100 copies of questionnaires were administered and 90 were returned. Respondents were drawn using probability technique. Also, the data were analysed and interpreted using table, frequency and percentage method. Respondents submitted that drama or soap opera on radio, television and in a normal movies helped to curb ebola spread in Nigeria and Lagos state in particular where the disease first break out. It was recommend that Script writers should always have at the back of their minds that Nigeria national development should be foremost on their minds when they are writing any script while health drama should be structured in such as way that will be easy to understand and achieve its set objectives.


CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

1.1       Background to the Study

 Ebola virus found its way into Nigeria by American-Liberian Mr. Patrick Sawyer who came from Liberia and dead with the virus in Nigeria. Sympathizers and health workers who came in contact with him suffered from the virus.  

It should be recorded that majority of Nigerians knew nothing about Ebola virus or diseases until it was reported in the media that Patrick Sawyer has imported the virus to the country and couple of seconds that the news broke out it became issue of discuss on both traditional mass media, social media and blogs among Nigerians especially the ways it being contacted and believe of been very dangerous and deadly more than HIV/Virus has continued to create panic and fear among the citizens.

NTA, AIT, Channels led other mass media where ebola virus and other associated issues were been discussed. Although, many information at the earlier report when the virus just broke out were based on the speculations, propaganda and half information as most of the sources used were not credible enough until few days later when experts came to debunk and shed light on what ebola virus is, how it can be contacted, how to prevent it, and treatment for ebola victims.

Osarumwense, G. E. (2014) added that Handshake has become difficult to come by, hugs suddenly became scared commodities and relationships have begin to suffer as a result of the fear of Ebola. Though only fourteen cases of the virus have been reported in Lagos, the whole nation has been gripping with fear of the virus. People no longer give a friendly handshake to stranger, colleagues even friends and family relatives. Though this be seen as precautionary moves, it is clear that the under laying factor is fear. Fear for friends and strangers, fear for the society and most of all, fear for Ebola.

However, Ebola disease also called Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola fever is a rare and often fatal illness that humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys and gorillas) can contract. There have been several outbreaks of Ebola fever in Africa. There has never been a reported case of Ebola fever in people in the United States.

The Ebola virus causes Ebola fever. The virus is found in Africa and the Philippines but, the virus from the Philippines does not cause illness in humans. The virus was named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it was first discovered.

The Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 and has appeared in sporadic outbreaks since then. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 2,265 reported cases of Ebola fever in humans around the world since 1976. Of these, 1,531 resulted in death (CDC, 2012).

Various techniques and strategies were adopted to curb the spreading of the deadly disease such as dramatic approach, musical approach, house to house campaign, media report among others. It is against this background that the research examines drama as a tool for promoting Ebola Virus awareness in Lagos.

1.2       Problems Statement

Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 and since then 2,265 reported cases of Ebola fever in humans around the world of these victims, 1,531 resulted in death killed. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC, 2012). In Nigeria, 56 cases have been reported of which 6 has been killed by the disease.

Inadequate information and rumour about ebola virus when first broke out has been attributed to the spread of the virus as many were misled particularly in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo e.t.c on the causes, mode of transmission, prevention, cure as little is known by people at that time thereby living people with speculations  on social media. In fact, it was spread one time that bathing with salt, eating of bitter cola among others prevent ebola  spread and lots of Nigerians who were seriously panic perform the rituals but avert ebola, this which killed some hypertensive patient in the North. 

It aims to find out how people particularly students of Lagos state were librated, enlightened and informed through dramatic programmes on both radio and television debunk unprofessional ways of dealing with ebola such as bathing with salt water, eating of bitter cola among others.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

  1. To ascertain the extent which drama programmes on television and radio have reduced the spread of Ebola Virus Disease among Lagosians.
  2. 2. To find out whether residents if Lagos receive adequate information on Ebola Virus through drama programmes or not.

1.4   Research Questions

  1. To what extent have drama programmes on radio and television reduced the spread of Ebola Virus Disease among Lagos residents?
  2. Did Lagos residents receive adequate information on Ebola Virus through drama programmes?

1.5       Significance of the Study

Although, mass media particularly drama has been applied to so many health problems that have faced this country one time of the other but only few have addressed Ebola Virus Disease esepcially at emergency time.

This research should provide useful data for the general publics and professionals as well as educators as to how they can maximize dramatic approach in appealing to the people especially for health related issues.

Health experts and policies makers will see the significance of dramatic approch in educating and enlighten members of the publics on health matter.

National Orientation Agency and other institutions that are saddled with the responsibility of creating public awareness will make to understand the place of drama in their campaign because it is a language understood by many.  

Future researchers who many what to carry out research in this area or related aspect will find this materials as reference point.

1.6       Scope of the Study

            The study has been limited in scope to the residents of Lagos partiuclarly people in Ikeja, Oshodi, Ojota, Mafoluku and Ipaja because they were close to the scene where the incident of ebola was first reported, proximity and since it will not only be difficult but impossible to study all people in Lagos due to time, fund, geographical structure and other logistics. Yet any finding arrived at will be generalized on the people in Lagos and perhaps Nigerians.

1.7       Limitation to the Study

Wide research of this nature cannot be carried out without some constrains, this constraints pose a lot of limitations to this work.

Time: Duration for the research work is relative1y short while stress emanated from other academic activities is also another constraint.

Material: Little materials are also available because the work is relatively new. Financial constrain poses another challenges as most of information are gathered through books rather than using various sources including internet.

Financial: Financial constraint poses another challenge as it is very difficult get materials and travel to get related research and cost of browsing internet.  

1.8       Operational Definition of the Terms

To effectively do justice to this research project, there is need to explain some of the key words:

EVD: This is the acromym of Ebola Virus Disease

Tool: this refers to the means which by which people are educated, informed and enlightened on EVD.

Promoting Awareness: This refers to the dissemination and sharing of information to the people to clear air on the causes, effect and solution to ebola virus usually in the form of drama and other means.   

Lagos: This is the most populous city in Nigeria and Perhap the largest on the continent (Africa) where EVD was believed to have tendency of spreading like fire because of means by which the disease was been contacted.

Drama programme: It is genre of programme on television and radio which people act on ebola disease for the purpose of educating and correct bad impression on the public    

Prevention: It is an effort to curb the spread of ebola virus in Nigeria and one of such preventive measure was the use of drama.

Ebola disease: This is a deathly virus that affected humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys and gorillas) which can be contracted. 

 

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