An Appraisal of The Role of Community Radio in The Prevention of HIV/Aids In Ghana and The Implications for Nigeria
In spite of the huge conventional mass media campaign on HIV prevention in Ghana and its attendant high public awareness, there is low level adoption of some preventive measures by the public due to their limited involvement in the communication process as well as a knowledge gap about the disease as confirmed by Ghana Demography and Health Survey (GDHS) of 2014. This questioned the impact of conventional communication channels and shifted focus to community radio, regarded as a grassroots medium that accentuates the voices and participation of people in addressing issues that affect them. This study, therefore, is aimed at understanding the role of community radio as a health communication mechanism in preventing the spread of HIV/ AIDS among the rural and semi-urban population in Ghana. The study specifically examined the current state of community radio HIV/AIDS programming in Pokuase and Winneba communities in Ghana; the extent to which knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to HIV/AIDS are influenced by community radio as well as identified how community radio can be deployed to strengthen communication and improve HIV preventive measures uptake by the community members.
Based on a sample size of 824 respondents and 12 Key Informant Interviewees, the study confirmed a high-level awareness of HIV epidemic in the sampled communities due to the participatory programming of Radio Emashie, Pokuase and Radio Peace, Winneba. The findings further revealed that community members have adopted certain behaviours such as the use of condoms, faithfulness to partners and limited number of sexual partners in order to prevent HIV infection. Therefore, the study recommended increased funding to strengthen participatory approach to radio programming and increased frequency of HIV-related youth-focused programmes to prevent new infections.