Department of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University Oye, Ekiti
Using participatory research methods to engage ordinary people in critical reflection and discussion of their problems has become a widely accepted practice among scholars and stakeholders of development communication in a bid to foster social change. This article reports on the use of drama and Participatory Learning and Action tools (PLA) to investigate the influence of poverty and traditional practices on health seeking behaviour of Tiv women in Ikyaan and Amua communities of Benue State, Nigeria. The purpose was to provide an interactive session among discussants and researchers towards understanding factors that hinder access to prompt medical attention especially as regards pregnant women in the selected communities. Findings show that, women in the communities prior to the drama intervention preferred certain traditional practices because they were cheaper. The study concludes, among others that, if we are to succeed in the task of improving the health status of people in the rural areas, we must include, involve and listen to poor people and their representatives. The poor have long recognized the link between good health and development. But until recently, this link has been neglected in mainstream development thinking. Improving the health of the poor must become a priority, not only for public health but also for other sectors of development — economic, environmental and social.