Development Communication Assignment Essay
Wuchau District is one of the districts in Upper West Region which is predominantly rural. It has Wuchau as its capital with local communities around the capital. Because the district is predominantly rural, it is no less a fact to state that the place is predominantly traditional society and hence it is, and as would be expected, that a major proportion of its people rely on traditional mode of doing things.
This explains why they uphold indigenous culture very high. Their mode of dressing, method of communication and spread of ideas and information, their diet (food), major mode of commuting, festivals, funerals, religious activities, are basically traditional. The Wuchau district has been hit by an outbreak of cerebrum spinal meningitis which is a headache to the region. Some serious intervention is therefore needed to mitigate the alarming spread of the disease.
This intervention must be in the form of information dissemination to create the awareness of the people of Wuchau district about what the disease is, what threat it poses to human life, what period of the year it usually occurs, how to handle cases, and what to do to prevent ourselves from infection, etc. As the Project Communication Officer of the Ghana Health Services of the Upper West Region, two predominant traditional and one modern needs of communication of the community would be used extensively to spread the mitigation interventions.
Two predominant traditional communication methods are to be chosen because the communities use predominantly traditional modes of communication. The two traditional communication methods are the use of songs and dirges whiles the modern method of communication is the use of radio. Songs are very much cherished by the local communities and this is evidenced in almost everything about the people such as during working time be it farm work, drawing of water, fetching of firewood, commuting to market and during festivals and other ceremonies, in fact, songs are a part of the lives of the local people.
The songs are always embedded with proverbs and idioms which help to bring out meaning of the message. The message to be sung is as follows: Who has heard what I have heard? The `white cap women’ has knocked at my door to ask me if I’ve felt the heat. Did you feel the heat too? Then let us guard our necks To carry water for the one who makes my bed warm Because the `white cap woman’ says the stiff neck sickness has come For me my mat is outside Where is yours? I would rather the fresh air pamper my neck.
For my `house owner’ to warm me when the cold comes Than to warm myself in the heat and stiffen my neck to death. They say we should stay in overcrowded places For me I would report to the doctor when I have sudden headache and backaches Those who love funeral more than their lives should be careful not to turn themselves into funerals This song explains to the people that the sickness comes during the warm season and so people should sleep in the open where cool air blows to prevent them from getting the disease.
The white cap woman signifies the female nurse. The dirge is also equally if not more powerful like songs in lives of the people. By listening to a dirge one can easily understand the cause of death and what manner of person the diseased was on earth. The following words would be sung during funeral of a diseased: Where is he? I called him who responded to his name with pride and dignity but heard nothing The mighty tree from which benighted birds could seek refuge is now lying down helpless The mighty ocean has suddenly dried up without goodbye.
The stiff neck has caused my throat remain dry with a sudden Blow of bad heat over the mighty ocean Tell Bayor to tell Kuunfar to tell his house people that the sickness has come To steal our loved ones away. The breadwinner has had his share but let’s sleep in airy places Not to be the next victims . Please tell everybody to take the injection to avoid lying like this dead man. These songs and dirges would be recorded and played on radio stations normally preceding radio talks show programs concerning CSM.
The radio talk show would mainly be done in the local dialect at every dawn and at 7:00 pm every day. Phone-in segments would be included during the evening radio program so that people who have concerns can call in and ask questions for clarification. It is hoped that this integrated method of educating the people would help to solve the problems of the Cerebrum Spinal Meningitis in the Wuchau District.