New Information Communication Technologies (ICTS) in health communication interventions: perceptions and prospects of their adoption
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The HIV/AIDS pandemic is recognized to be the most devastating scourge in history. As the global community begins to comprehend and acknowledge the immense impact of this monster, there is an increasing urgency to respond in a way that will reverse the devastation and destructiveness caused by this disease. New information technologies, especially the internet, has been seen as one major potential vehicle, among others III the global mobilization and response to the pandemic. With the promise of providing vast amounts of quality information and creating networks of researchers, health care providers, NGOs among others in the fight against HIV/AIDS, many organizations have taken the plunge in the adoption of such technologies. While acknowledging that internet technologies cannot provide the same kind of direct benefits such as health care and drugs, the value of such technologies in the campaigns (through focused applications and appropriate policies) has been seen to empower most organizations engaged in concerted efforts to stamp out the disease. This study investigated the adoption levels of internet (and its associated technologies) among NGOs believed to be actively involved in Information Education Communication interventions in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other reproductive health concerns. Through e-mail questionnaires and selected interviews to key informants, the study sought to unearth the adoption patterns, the perception and attitudes held by the various respondents about internet technologies as used in the HIV/AIDS campaigns. The factors incidental to adoption and non-adoption of the technologies were also explored. The study also made an evaluation of the other alternative channels of communication to examine the premium placed on them especially when compared with the new technologies. Policy recommendations on the way forward were also sought from respondents. The investigation revealed that most of Non-governmental organizations were positive about the new technologies evidenced by its adoption at least at the basic level (18%). The perceptions given to the internet were also encouraging especially with regard to its potentialities in such campaigns. Internet technologies were perceived seen as a strong networking tool that provided qualitative and quantitative information on the latest news on HIV/AIDS and other reproductive health related concerns. The value of the internet notwithstanding, respondents cited several major hindrances to its full adoption and effective use in the campaigns. These included inadequate technical/operational skills, high costs of use and maintenance, poor technological infrastructure and to a lesser extent, some organizations deliberately failing to hook up to the bandwagon of technology for frivolous reasons. A significant observation was that those who mostly favoured the technology were drawn from the international category, something that can be attributed to a sound financial exposure and skills. A major recommendation given was the need to marshal resources among organizations and integrate ICTs into the overall organizational policy so that internet technologies can be seen as integral to effective communication planning and implementation of HIV/AIDS campaigns in organizations.
Faculty of Arts
Master of Arts in Communication Studies