When challenged to stop malaria by reaching every household in their community with malaria preventative messages, the Biyinzika Credit and Savings Group in Masaka, Uganda, responded swiftly and effectively.
Originally a village health team that began working together to build savings in order to give loans to members for small-scale enterprises in 2007, the 16 women and two men in the group were approached in July 2011 by Mr. Yiga, a health assistant supported by the Stop Malaria Project.
The Stop Malaria Project is a five-year project, implemented by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (JHU∙CCP) in partnership with the Communication for Development Foundation Uganda and with funding from the President’s Malaria Initiative and USAID.
Stop Malaria Project health assistants mobilize communities to work towards malaria prevention by identifying organized groups and encouraging them to become radio listenership groups. Mr. Yiga invited the members of Biyinzika Credit and Savings, one of 244 community groups across Uganda who have been contacted by SMP, to listen to the malaria-focused monthly radio talk shows supported by SMP that were aired on Buddu FM, a local radio station.
The Biyinzika Credit and Savings Group quickly became avid listeners. Explains Milly Nanziri, the group leader: “The members were happy about the radio talk shows because it contained a lot of information about malaria prevention that we could pass on to community members.”
After listening to the radio talk shows together, the group decided to attempt to reach out to the 154 households in their community. They divided themselves into three teams, each tasked with reaching a subset of households in their community.
Using educational materials printed on grain sacks provided by the Stop Malaria Project, the teams have visited households and delivered critical messages. Examples of the messages include encouraging consistent net use, saving money to buy a net and seeking treatment immediately for signs and symptoms of malaria at a health facility rather than using local remedies.
The group members have reached most of the households in their village and the surrounding area with malaria messages, and will continue to reach out with the goal of helping to stop malaria in their community.
Learn more about the Stop Malaria Project.