The role of communication in promoting Voluntary Counselling and Testing(VCT) for HIV in selected clinics around Lusaka District

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Mwape, Juliet C.
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University of Zambia
The purpose of this study was to assess the role of communication in promoting Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT). The study also aimed at finding out people’s knowledge, attitude and practices towards VCT. Further, the study sought to establish the kind of messages that are produced on VCT by the Ministry of Health and the channels used to pass the messages to people. Factors affecting VCT were also established. Lastly, the study aimed at establishing whether messages on VCT are differentiated for different audiences. This study used both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Questionnaires and in-depth interviews were used to collect data from the audience and selected interviewees at the Ministry of Health (MOH), Headquarters and from the selected clinics. Research instruments used were structured questionnaires and interview guide. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and narrative form. This study revealed that communication plays an important role in promoting VCT as reflected by 90% of respondents who felt that messages on VCT could be adopted into behaviour. In addition, most of the respondents knew what VCT was and felt that it was important in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Findings showed that the majority of respondents (93%) knew what VCT is. In spite of 93% of respondents having the knowledge on VCT, the number of people who had accessed the service was low at 37%. Further the study revealed that most respondents accessed VCT information through the media at 71%. A number of factors including cultural and religious factors were cited as affecting people practices towards VCT. Lastly, the study established that messages on VCT were not differentiated for different audiences thereby hampering active communication. Some of the major recommendations were that there is need for MOH to develop a communication strategy for VCT. In addition, VCT service providers need to scale up communication on VCT by segmenting messages on VCT and reaching out to as many families in communities as possible through intensified door to door sensitization on the benefits of VCT.
Master of Communication for Development
AIDS(Disease)-Zambia , AIDS(Disease)-Prevention