1.1     Background to the study

Every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world.

Underneath the statistics lies the pain of human tragedy, for thousands of families who have lost their children. Even more devastating is the knowledge that, according to recent research, essential interventions reaching women and babies on time would have averted most of these deaths and sorrow (UNICEF, 2017).

Maternal mortality is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.

The rates of maternal mortality have been significantly reduced in the developed world mainly due to improvements in basic health care and technological advances in the medical field. However, maternal mortality remains a cause for major concern in developing countries especially in sub-Saharan Africa. the world maternal mortality rate had declined 44% since 1990, but still every day 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth related causes.According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 2017 report, this is equivalent to "about one woman every two minutes and for every woman who dies, 20 or 30 encounter complications with serious or long-lasting consequences. Most of these deaths and injuries are entirely preventable."

UNFPA estimated that 289,000 women died of pregnancy or childbirth related causes in 2013. These causes range from severe bleeding to obstructed labour, all of which have highly effective interventions. As women have gained access to family planning and skilled birth attendance with backup emergency obstetric care, the global maternal mortality ratio has fallen from 380 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 210 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013, and many countries halved their maternal death rates in the last 10 years.

High rates of maternal mortality still exist in places, particularly in impoverished communities with over 85% living in Africa and Southern Asia. The effect of a mother's death results in vulnerable families and their infants, if they survive childbirth, are more likely to die before reaching their second birthday

The media has been used over time to promote public health thereby reaching a large audience. Matamoros (2011) explained that Mass media campaigns are generally aimed primarily to change knowledge, awareness and attitudes, contributing to the goal of changing behavior. There have been cases where the mass media was used to sensitize the populace on some health behaviors, an example is the Ebola breakout in (2014), the deadly meningitis (2017), HIV/AIDs, Polio, Measles, Malaria etc.

Radio is an effective tool to use to promote public health. Radio remains the most powerful, and yet the cheapest, mass medium for reaching large numbers of people in isolated areas. It is cheap to purchase and therefore is the one mass medium with which rural and slum communities are familiar; it is versatile and anyone- literate or illiterate can learn from it. (Moemeka, 1994 cited in Andesiah, 2015).

Radio has put in some efforts in promoting health. This is evident in programs aired in radio stations as regards health behavior. However, maternal mortality as a health issue continues to surge, families continue to lose mothers and children  before they get to really know them. This study evaluated the influence of radio PSA’s on maternal mortality among women.

1.2     Statement of Problem

The birth of a child brings so much joy to the family. Most families begin to celebrate the child right from his/her first day in the world. So one can only imagine the rude shock it will be if a woman of childbearing age should die. The death of a childbearing age woman brings disappointment and carries a huge burden of grief, pain and heartbreak. The menace of maternity death is one that is aggressively damaging to numerous households, terminating innocent lives and resulting in alarming unwarranted and preventable deaths. Factors that increase maternal death can be direct or indirect. In an 2009 article on maternal morbidity, the authors said, that generally, there is a distinction between a direct maternal death that is the result of a complication of the pregnancy, delivery, or management of the two, and an indirect maternal death, that is a pregnancy-related death in a patient with a preexisting or newly developed health problem unrelated to pregnancy. Fatalities during but unrelated to a pregnancy are termed accidental, incidental, or nonobstetrical maternal deaths.

The mass media are intensively engaged in public health. Vast sums are spent annually for materials and salaries that have gone into the production and distribution of booklets, pamphlets, exhibits, newspaper articles, and radio and television programs. These media are employed at all levels of public health in the hope that three effects might occur: the learning of correct health information and knowledge, the changing of health attitudes and values and the establishment of new health behavior (Matamoros, 2011).

No doubt Radio has been playing it role by promoting health through talk shows, jingles, drama, etc despite this, there is still a surge in maternal mortality rate. Issues associated with broadcast media in general require attention. This includes whether broadcast health programs devote enough time to issues bothering on maternal mortality and health? Are these programs planned to adequately address core maternal issues such as immunization, danger signs to watch out for, family planning, etc?.This study examined and assessed the influence of Radio PSA’s on maternal mortality among women.

1.3     Objective of the study

          The objective of this study were to;

i.        Ascertain the level of awareness of the women of Oron on the causes of maternal mortality

ii.        Examine the frequency of exposure on maternal health among women in oron

iii.      Determine the extent of the role of Radio PSAs on maternal health  in preventing maternal mortality in  Oron.

iv.       Identify the factors that impede the success of Radio PSAs health programs in preventing maternal mortality in Oron Nigeria

1.4     Research question

The following research questions were framed to guild the study

i.        What is the level of awareness of the wonem of Oron on the causes of Maternal mortality?

ii.       How often are Radio PSAs health programs on maternal mortality aired?

iii.      What is the extent of the role of Radio PSAs health programs in preventing maternal  mortality in Oron?

iv.      What are the factors that impede the success of Radio PSAs health programs in preventing maternal mortality in oron?

1.5     Significance of Study

This field of study is important and the findings would also be important to a number of people. Since this maternal mortality has become an issues for concern in Nigeria, it is important for women  to understand what  to do to help them prevent the rate of maternal mortality.  

Women in Oron LGA would use the findings of this study to understand the influence of Radio PSAs among women and how to channel their knowledge of maternal mortality  into constructive use, probably creating the awareness among female children in oron.

Counselors and psychologists would use the findings of this study to know more about maternal mortality on woman. This study would also be a resourceful material to future researchers on related topics.

1.6     Delimitations of the Study.

The essence of this research work is to primarily study the Influence of Radio PSAs on maternal mortality among women in Oron. The research intends to focus on woman of childbearing age in Oron LGA.

1.7     Limitations to the Study.

Behind every successful research work, there are  thousand and one constraints. Researchers are usually controlled with a number of militating factors in the course of their research studies. This research was not spared the problems.

Most prominent among the limitation was the negative attitude of some women  in Oron LGA, some misplaced the questionnaire. This attitude could be inimical to the success of this work as half truth may not be completely excused.

Furthermore, of time and fund cannot be ruled out as other factor militating against this study.

1.8     Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined in the context in which they are used in this study:

  • Maternal mortality: These is defined as "the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy,
  • PSAs : Public Service Announcement (PSAs) is an advertisement that radio station airs to create awareness on maternal mortality
  • Radio: This is an industry of broadcasting sound programmes to the public on the awareness of maternal mortality.
  • Oron; This is a local government area  in Akwa ibom state. It is the universe of study.