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The role of indigenous language and appropriate channel as strategies for effective health communication in Vrede.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) constitution declares health as a fundamental right of every human being, and describes it as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. WHO mandates member states to promote the health of her citizens as the value is to all including the state. To this end, governments including the ones in the global south have evolved policies, institutions and programmes to achieve these objectives. However, the successes or failures of these objectives differ in communities, and it is based on the how health information is delivered to members of the communities so that they can make informed health decisions. In delivering this health information, the use of language that is indigenous and intelligible to the people is important. Thus, indigenous language is autochthonous, and spoken among native people in a community. It is used for communication, expression of identity, play, imaginative expression, and emotional release. This paper examined how health information is communicated to members of the community in Vrede, and which indigenous language has been mobilized to address the dominant groups without excluding the others, to what extend do the indigenous people participate in this mobilization, and also the appropriate medium that is preferred by the community members to achieve their health information needs in order to bring about health development and social change in the community. The paper mobilized a qualitative approach by undertaking interviews with varied demography of Vrede to ascertain which indigenous language is preferred and dominant in the town, and if the people including the migrant community are unilingual, bilingual or trilingual. The paper also ascertained the experiences of the residents on health information from government and health institutions, how they receive it, and the medium they consider appropriate. The outcome of the research concluded that indigenous language is an effective communication strategy in disseminating health information in Vrede, thus leading to the social change in the community and improve their wellbeing. It shows that dominant indigenous language should be used in that communication, and the medium of communication to be deployed by the health information planners should be face-to-face communication, community engagement, and the use of social media, especially Facebook.


Research Articles. Criminology and Forensic Studies.



Akpan, U.J., Mkhize, S.M. and Patrick, H.O., 2022. The role of indigenous language and appropriate channel as strategies for effective health communication in Vrede.