Determining the effectiveness of health communication in the Gauteng province : a case study of child immunisation in the Vaal Region.
Matsoso, Lebohang Mampone Lesego
Vaal University of Technology
Health communication has become an integral component of quality health care. However, it is not just the process of giving information, but rather an active process that facilitates the use of information to improve decision-making and change behaviour that lead to positive health outcomes. Therefore, effective communication should be encouraged by means of two-way interaction between the health practitioners and the patients. The purpose of this research study was to determine the effectiveness of health communication in the Vaal region, using Levai Mbatha clinic as a case study. The study used the mixed method design consisting of both qualitative and quantitative methods. Quantitative research design was done through the distribution of questionnaires to parents in order to ascertain how child immunisation issues are communicated to them. Simple random sampling approach was used to gather the data, and the sample size for this design was 100 parents. For the qualitative approach, semi-structured interviews was used to determine the effectiveness of health communication information as disseminated by health practitioners to parents. Purposive sampling approach was used to select six (6) health practitioners. From the descriptive results (quantitative) it was evident that there is ineffective health communication at Levai Mbatha clinic. Parents are not aware of other illnesses related to child immunisation, and they feel that it would be better if the content of communication mediums were to be written in their mother tongue. It is therefore evident that, due to lack of understanding of the content, parents cannot participate in the discussions related to child immunisation this hinders effective communication. The interviews (quantitative) revealed that health practitioners felt that much needs to be done when it comes to the dissemination of child immunisation information. They indicate that there is not enough health communication material at their disposal to distribute to parents. Furthermore, there seem to be a challenge in language when they have to communicate with parents. Consequently, the efforts to effectively communicate child immunisation to parents effectively becomes insignificant.
M. Tech. (Public Relations Management, Faculty of Human Sciences), Vaal University of Technology
Health communication, Effective communication, Print media, Child immunisation