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Communicating health risk in Southeast Nigeria: The case of media campaign against viral hepatitis and its implication for health communication.

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The purpose of this study is to investigate the media coverage of viral hepatitis in Southeast Nigeria and the implication it has on health communication. This study was conducted with the aim of determining the level of awareness of viral hepatitis disease in Southeast Nigeria; and the extent of media coverage of hepatitis disease.Cross-sectional survey study was carried out in the 5 states of Southeast Nigeria while structured questionnaire was used to generate data. A representative sample of 500 respondents was selected from the capital cities of the 5 states in the Southeast zone of Nigeria. The data generated were analyzed using mean, percentage (%), and analysis of variance tests of between-subjects effects in SPSS, version 20. Results were considered significant at P ≤ .05.Even though majority of the people are consumers of media products, only a few of the respondents were aware of viral hepatitis, its symptoms, mode of transmission, and curative measures. Inappropriate timing and scanty or limited scheduling of media health programs were significant hindrances to media campaign against viral hepatitis in Southeast Nigeria.Regular media campaign programs against the disease are required to build more awareness as well as appropriate timing of media programs such as Sunday evenings and news hours, and media interactive forum with phone-in programs. Further research on the nature and impact of funding, support, and policy on media campaigns on this health risk are also recommended.

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