Stakeholders Advocacy and the Campaign against Malaria Epidemic in Cross River State: A Social Change Perspective
Stakeholders’ engagement, communication and management is germane to the success of any given social change campaign; most especially in campaigns that are aimed at influencing and changing people’s negative attitudes and behaviours. The task of changing negative health attitudes and practice cannot be left in the hands of the health practitioners/caregivers and the mass media alone. Consequently, the paper strongly makes a case for the need to involve stakeholders at the community levels – the Chiefs, Village Heads, Religious Leaders, Opinion Leaders and other well-meaning individuals – in the campaign against the scourge of malaria parasite. It is believed that while the mass media are popular in creating public health awareness and education; they can do just close to nothing in deciding how the people receive and react to the messages, especially in the area of attitude and behaviour change. Therefore, involving key stakeholders at the community level, who are highly respected by the people, in the campaign will help to consolidate the efforts of the campaign planners. The survey research method was used to gather data for the study and the interview and questionnaire were used as instruments for data collection. The study was premised on the stakeholder’s theory and Participatory Development 154 Theory. The findings revealed that certain cultural practices still militate against the success of the fight against malaria scourge in Cross Rive State, especially the campaign on the use of the Malaria Treated Bed Nets. It was also found out that the level of awareness on the availability of Insecticide Treated Bed Nets was very high as all the respondents affirmed that they were aware of the availability of the Nets. However, most of the people who said they have the nets do not use them based on one reason or the other. These include: general inconvenience associated with sleeping in the net like intense heat or offensive smell of the chemical used in treating the net as well as the general believe that Nets are either meant for babies of dead bodies. The researcher therefore recommends that Anti-malaria campaign planners should actively involve the leaders of every community in the programme planning and execution. This will make the work of the campaign planners easy because their opinions are well respected by the people.
Keywords: Stakeholders Advocacy, MalariaEpidemic, Social Change