This dissertation reports on an exploratory study investigating the potential of recorded audio media (i.e. audiocassettes/CDs) as a method of health communication in South Africa. The investigation examines recorded audio media as an alternative to printed brochures. People need access to information in order to make informed decisions about their health. In South Africa, the high HIV/AIDS infection rate is a case in point. The literature review deals with the accessibility of information in terms of physical accessibility (whether the receiver can find, operate and use the communication medium); and semantic accessibility (whether the receiver understands the message disseminated via the medium). Through the review, it was discovered that, where necessary, information must then be repackaged from an inaccessible to an accessible and appropriate format. Factors like visual disabilities, low levels of literacy and low reading proficiency, can render printed information inaccessible. This study discusses and researches the feasibility of recorded audio media (audiocassettes/CDs) as an alternative to print-based brochures by means of a comparative literature review and empirical study. Selected HIV/AIDS brochures (developed by the Department of Health) and similar recorded audio messages were evaluated amongst the target audience in order to compare the comprehension of the messages, the accessibility and acceptability of both media forms. The study was conducted at four public health clinics, where individual structured interviews and focus group interviews were employed as data collection methods. The data was analysed by means of qualitative content analysis. The findings indicate the definite potential of the use of recorded audio media in health and HIV/AIDS communication, and should be explored further. The comprehension of the audio messages was better than that of the printed brochures indicating the semantic accessibility of the audio messages. The positive reaction of the research participants toward the recorded audio messages also indicates the acceptability of the medium. Incorporating audiocassettes into the media mix of HIV/AIDS and other development and/or health communication campaigns, will contribute to the overall effectiveness of the communication strategy.
Dissertation (MA (Development Communication))--University of Pretoria, 2008.