THE PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF HOSPITAL POSTERS IN SELECTED ABUJA HOSPITALS.
BACKGROUND TO STUDY
The exhibit from the world’s largest collection of public heath posters housed in the National Library of Medicine (United States) reveals the potential of posters as effective medium for communicating information about disease, identifying risk factors, and promoting behavioral change. By examining the history and function of public health posters, the exhibit suggests that social, biological, and cultural factors have collectively influenced the design of public health campaigns throughout the preceding century (Boyle, 2003). Due to the many qualities posters have, public health campaigners are encouraged to use them as powerful medium for visually communicating knowledge about disease, and for promoting changes in behavior. In the process, poster designers developed a visual vocabulary to help shape and define “normal “and “healthy” behaviors and conditions which has provided the basis for a variety of campaigns against infections diseases and environmental health hazards (Boyle, 2003,2).
Statement of the problem
This study intends to analyse how effectively hospital health posters in selected Abuja hospitals communicate health message. In other words, it looks in to whether the poster are designed in a way the audience understands them. It also explores the strategy presently employed by hospitals communication unit in designing health messages. Posters and posters are believed to play vital role for people to gain awareness and control over factors that influence their basic needs. Concerning this visual aids, Starrs and Rizzuto (1995, 1) state “experience has shown that, a welldesigned campaign can change people’s knowledge, attitudes and behavior” (Starrs and Rizzuto, 1995, 1). They also emphasize that effective campaigns begin through research to find out what people currently know, believe and do. Particular attention needs to be paid in designing posters and posters especially for a society where reading culture is not vastly developed. Many people doubt the quality of health posters and posters produced in Abuja. Most of these visual materials seem to be produced on impulse rather than assessing audience’s background and involving target audience. So their effectiveness is also doubtful. Though initiatives have been taken to curb health problems (like the spread of HIV) little has been done to certain the impact of these posters and posters on bringing awareness and promoting behavior change.