Appraisal of Nutrition Communication Strategies in Ethiopia: Efficacy and Barriers in the National Nutrition Program in East Gojjam Zone, Amhara Region
This paper examines the communication strategies applied to the national nutrition program effectiveness and barriers at the grassroots. A qualitative research approach was used to investigate the feelings, experiences, and perceptions of both the sender and receiver of health messages- health extension workers and the women from the community, respectively. For this purpose, interviews with health extension workers, focus group discussions with women, and field observation were conducted. The data found from these tools were analyzed thematically. Accordingly, the study found that as a communication strategy, health extension workers provide health education to the community through door-to-door interpersonal communication, group communication, and print media conveying nutrition-related messages. The study showed that there are communication challenges that are related to the source, the message, the channel, and the receiver. Besides, barriers were related to the source, the message, the channel, and the receiver. National Nutrition Program fundamentally stated the activities and goals of the program without proposing the communication strategy applied to it. The National Nutrition Program was effective to some extent in creating awareness about when and how complementary food is prepared for children as well as how mothers feed their children. The study revealed that the National Nutrition Program does not have a strategy on how to convey communication messages about nutrition.