A participatory health communication strategy for sustainable development : HIV/AIDS in Potchefstroom
A participatory health communication strategy for sustainable development: HIV/AIDS in Potchefstroom Participatory communication is a relatively new and innovative means through which development in the community can be achieved. As a communication medium it differs substantially from the traditional approaches in that it practices a horizontal approach to communication and assumes that the community at whom the development is directed knows best what they require. It advocates the inclusion of the community into the planning and implementation phases of the development project. Focusing on HIV/AIDS, it is required that participatory communication is discussed from a health perspective. Therefore the participatory approach for health communication is discussed as the most suitable communication for health communication pertaining to the context of this study. An extensive literature study revealed previous studies on participatory communication had been done but none specifically focused on participatory communication in a health context. With the present research the Potchefstroom Municipal Health Authority and the Local AIDS Council had been selected, in order to identify the steps that need to be followed in implementing a participatory health communication strategy in the community. The general aim of the study was to describe these steps in order to propose guidelines to the Potchefstroom Municipal Health Authority that would assist in the implementation of this strategy to the community. The assumption was made that without buy-in from the community into the participatory health communication strategy, the communication strategy would end and this would end the communication process, resulting in an unsustainable development initiative with regard to HIV/AIDS in the Potchefstroom community. Content analysis, interviews and literature review as research methods had been used during the study in order to triangulate the findings made. The available literature had been analysed to find the guidelines on the unique characteristics of the participatory communication and the role of health communication. The National and Provincial HIV/AIDS policy documents had also been analysed focusing on the requirements from government and determining what the participatory health communication strategy should focus on with regard to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The results of the content analyses were compared to the findings made in the interviews conducted with the members of the Potchefstroom Municipal Health Authority and Potchefstroom Local AIDS Council. After an in-depth review of the literature the broad guidelines regarding participatory communication in a health context were established for a participatory health communication strategy at community level for HIV/AIDS communication.
- Humanities