The production, distribution and reception of Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) reproductive health messages in Chikombedzi rural Zimbabwe.
This study explores the production and distribution of Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council’s (ZNFPC) female reproductive health communication messages and their reception by females in Chikombedzi, rural Zimbabwe. The study arises from the realisation that female reproductive health remains low, particularly in marginalised communities, as the mass media seem not to prioritise reproductive health communication. Taking a Cultural Studies approach (CS), the study employs the Encoding/Decoding model (Hall, 2010/1980) and the Circuit of Culture (Du Gay et al., 1997). This is combined with the Social Ecology Model of Communication and Health Behaviour (SEMCHB) (Kincaid et al., 2007) thus also framing the study within health communication. In this qualitative research, data is collected through archival research at the ZNFPC offices complimented by semi-structured interviews of ZNFPC key personnel to determine the production and distribution processes. Focus groups are held with different women in Chikombedzi to establish the reception patterns. For data analysis semiotic analysis is employed coupled with an adaptation of the SECMHB as a data analysis tool. The research establishes that while ZNFPC tries to cater for Chikombedzi females in its packaging and distribution of IEC materials for behaviour and social change, there is still room for improvement. On their part, the women of Chikombedzi acknowledge the importance of ZNFPC messages but have to grapple with cultural and social expectations that are sometimes not conducive to the adoption of the communicated messages. IEC materials are used as a system of representation of the reproductive health challenges faced by woman in Chikombedzi.
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