This study explores the intersection of health message communication with rural women’s understandings of health. It attempts to draw a distinction between health message sharing and dissemination based on the in-depth interviews with sedentary rural based women and migrant urban based rural women. The paper observes a tendency for health organizations and workers, as sources of the women’s health messages, to disseminate through technologically mediated communications (TMCs) while essentially discarding indigenous African communication systems (IACS) where IACS are associated with sharing and TMCs with dissemination. Health care workers in both urban and rural locations used posters and other TMCs, which were less familiar and accessible to the largely illiterate women. Unable to read the poster, its contents could not have added to the women’s health knowledge. Thus, it is proposed that the principles underpinning IACS be incorporated into message design and sharing to strengthen communication’s role in the women’s health knowledge and practices.
The overwhelming penetration of technology in rural communities, along with the preponderant desire of health workers for sophistication in communication have combined to suppress interest in using indigenous African communication systems (IACS) as conduit for the health message in the rural milieu. This research probed the health message in rural women’s understanding of health.