In Malawi’s mosquito-ridden Salima District, malaria has afflicted many communities for as long as people can remember. Mariam Mwaba, a grandmother in Salima, lost her father, three children and two grandchildren to the disease, because there was little her family could do to prevent it.
Since the launch of Support for Service Delivery Integration (SSDI)-Communication, Mariam no longer feels so helpless. She was one of the first in the district to receive training as a community volunteer in the battle against malaria.
“When the opportunity to become a volunteer arose, I did not hesitate to seize it,” she says. “I said to myself, ‘I have met the killer face-to-face,’ and I saw what it does. But that has to stop now.” Mariam has become a vital resource for her community, advising neighbors on how to use mosquito nets and sending sick community members to the hospital if they have malaria symptoms.
Battling malaria is one of the goals of SSDI-Communication, a social and behavior change communication project that teaches families how to advocate for their own health, practice healthy behaviors, and engage with a responsive health care system. SSDI-Communication concentrates on family planning, HIV/AIDS and efforts to reduce maternal, infant, and under five mortality rates.
SSDI-Communication coordinates its activities under the umbrella platform of the Moyo ndi Mpamba, Usamalireni! campaign, launched in 2012. SSDI-Communication’s unifying creative concept – Moyo ndi Mpamba (Life Is Precious) – energizes all partners and facilitates effective coordination, harmonized and integrated SBCC packages and continued capacity building. The central concept – that ‘life is precious’ (Moyo ndi Mpamba) and one can take care of it (‘Usamalireni’) through small, doable steps to improve quality of life is tied together with messages about and links to desired actions in MNCH, nutrition, FP, malaria, and WASH. This innovative platform, which was informed by research on people’s aspirations for a good and healthy life, has allowed the project to shift from vertical to integrated programming and to address multiple needs for health information and services amongst different life stages.
Recently, the Moyo ndi Mpamba, Usamalireni! was adopted by the Ministry of Health as the umbrella platform for its new National Health Communication Strategy for 2015-2020 covering the 13 Essential Health Packages.
For more information, contact Alinafe Kasiya, Chief of Party | firstname.lastname@example.org
More on SSDI
- A Moyo ndi Mpamba mass media campaign that includes radio spots, roadshows, billboards, radio programs (reality radio and serial drama), leaflets, brochures, and posters.
- “Music 4 Life” music festivals have taken place around the country, bringing awareness to SSDI focus health areas through song. The festivals have been incredibly popular, drawing huge crowds. There are plans for an album of music from these festivals to be produced, and the songs aired over the radio.
- The Media for Life initiative brings together media owners and health professionals as part of a high level advocacy forum to discuss and agree on strategies to improve health reporting in the country.
- The family health booklet contains easy to understand messages and doable actions to promote family health. Tens of thousands of booklets have been distributed so far, and the goal is to have one booklet in every home in all SSDI focus districts.
- Capacity building activities with the MOH and other partners. Recently, a capacity assessment was done with the Health Education Section, and a knowledge management plan was developed.