…authorities stress need for research
Authorities in the health sector have stressed on the need for extensive research on general health issues in Malawi saying this can help to have a knowledgeable and healthier nation.
This was said during the launch of the Umoyo N’kukambirana radio programme in its third phase which is a novelty by the Malawi Liverpool welcome Trust (MLW) at St Augustine 3 in Mangochi district on Saturday.
Umoyo N’kukambirana is an interactive health-talk radio programme which airs on the state broadcaster, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Radio 1.
According to MLW, the aim was to increase awareness of health and medical research, and improve engagement between researchers, healthcare workers, and the public.
The content and presentation were developed through participatory community consultations.
MLW Science Communication Manager Rodrick Sambakunsi could not resist from expressing gratitude for the launch.
He said research requires concerted efforts and as such the MLW opted to involve concerned stakeholders so that the findings be used to contribute and change people’s perception over health related issues that affect them.
‘’The programme involves experts who answer people’s questions on radio. We want the people out there to be answered on questions about health issues that bother them,’’ he said.
According to Sambakunsi, at the moment, MLW has sensitized District Executive Committees in Chikhwawa, Blantyre, and Zomba and they will now head to Nkhatabay and other districts earmarked for the projects.
On his part, Mangochi Acting District Health Officer Dr. James Kumwenda said such research ideas are important because they help uncover community needs and in the same vein bring out perceptions of locals in miscellaneous health issues.
While citing Mangochi as a district that has disheartening cultural beliefs that have overtime fuelled the rise of HIV/AIDS and cases of maternal deaths in the district, Kumwenda was upbeat that such radio programmes and research would put to a halt these practices.
Umoyo N’kukambirana was first introduced in August 2012 with up to 38 radio programmes produced by the end of 2013. The MLW works with 6 Radio Listening Clubs under MBC’s Development Broadcasting Unit (DBU) in districts of Mwanza, Dedza, Ntcheu, Balaka, Blantyre and Chiradzulu.
According to the MLW, listening clubs among others helped in generating debate about issues discussed in the community as well as providing feedback about the programmes.
The third phase which the MLW launched this week has already rolled out and the programme started airing on 3rd September on MBC Radio putting a halt in the use of listening clubs but community structures that will be used for feedback, content contribution as well as interaction.
Among other topics, the programme which targets people in the age range of 26-40 include Traditional Medicine versus Modern Medicine, Typhoid, Cancer, HIV, Mental Health, Lung Health in adults as well as Hypertension.
MLW intends to engage men and women aged 26 to 40 in health and health research, disseminate findings of MLW’s and its stakeholders’ research work and promote continued engagement between researchers and general public on health research through selected community groups.
The MLW has since indicated that YONECO FM, Dzimwe Community Radio station and Nkhotakota radio station are some of the media outlets that will be producing the radio contents during the project.