The use of traditional folk media to convey diabetes messages at public health care services
Radebe, Daluvuyo Lesego Treasure
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This study forms part of a multi-phase research project in South Africa (SA) that intends on developing, testing, implementing and evaluating a health dialogue model for patients living with type 2 diabetes in the Free State province of SA. Traditional folk media can be successfully used to convey health information to patients in low and middle-income countries. This communication medium holds potential for breaking through communication barriers and since it carries cultural significance; it is trusted and influential amongst indigenous groups. The number of people living with diabetes has increased drastically in the last decade, seemingly more so in low and middle-income countries. In 2016, approximately 1.6 million lives were lost to diabetes worldwide and statistical reports suggest that this global phenomenon will be the leading cause of death in SA by the year 2040. This necessitated the use of innovate and culturally centred methods for conveying diabetes information and raising awareness of this illness in SA. A previous study conducted in the Free State identified six key messages to raise community awareness of diabetes. This study presents the use of traditional folk media to convey these identified diabetes messages to patients attending public health care services in the Free State province. The study used a quantitative quasi-experimental pre-test post-test design. Random sampling of public health care services (N=26) was done in order to sample three services from Thaba ‘Nchu and three services from Botshabelo. Respondents (n=183) from the sampled services where conveniently selected, with the control group (n=63) and experimental group (n=120) undergoing a pre-test and 4-week post-test using structured questionnaires. Respondents from the experimental group received key diabetes messages conveyed via storytelling, poetry and song/dance. Frequencies and percentages for categorical data and medians and percentiles for continuous data were calculated per group.The groups were compared by means of the Chi Square test, Fisher's exact test and the change within a group was compared by means of the McNemar’s test. In spite of an even gender distribution amongst the Sesotho speaking population in both control and experimental groups, more female respondents took part in the study in both the control group (63.5%) and experimental group (69.2%) than men (36.5%; 30.8%). Non-homogenous pre-test results occurred in the control and experimental groups. According to the P-values calculated between the control and experimental groups’ pre and post-test phases, only message one presented using storytelling and message four presented via poetry, presented statistically significant changes from the pre-test to 4-week post-test phases of this study. Traditional folk media can be used to raise diabetes awareness to patients from an indigenous language group, such as the Sesotho speaking population from the Free State province. Communication and healthcare practitioners should therefore not underestimate the value of traditional folk media when promoting health messages.