The approach is very interesting and participatory. The whole activity … brought cheer and fun to the rural audience. I was inspired to conduct a malaria roadshow of my own.
– Yeshiwas Yaze
Yeshiwas Yaze’s job is to fight malaria in his region of Northwestern Ethiopia. For years, he tried without a lot of luck to reach as many people as possible with malaria prevention messages.
He felt the messages were being lost when he delivered them at the end of long church services. Or in government meetings. And he hadn’t developed any new ways of tackling malaria when he learned about a social and behavior change communication training led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ Communication for Health project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The training showed him a new approach: Hosting a malaria roadshow. Communication for Health’s roadshows, held at marketplaces and schools, had drawn thousands of people with music and dancing and essential information about malaria prevention. The events include net demonstrations and ask for people to pledge to sleep under mosquito nets – the best way to prevent infection.
“The approach is very interesting and participatory,” Yeshiwas says. “The whole activity … brought cheer and fun to the rural audience. I was inspired to conduct a malaria roadshow of my own.”
So he and his team got a green light from the Woreda Health Office to conduct their own events and he started by using the roadshow guide created by Communication for Health.
The roadshows were such a hit that he has spearheaded a dozen of his own already. And he says that malaria cases are down in the areas where the roadshows have been conducted.
“Unlike my previous malaria awareness creation efforts in churches and government meetings, the audience is very attentive and fully engaged,” Yeshiwas says. “I am so happy with the results we have seen.”