Mchinji district has a population of over half a Million people and served by 17 health facilities. Parent and Child Health Initiative (PACHI) with funding from USAID through ONSE health is implementing the Malaria Social Behaviour change project to decrease malaria morbidity and mortality especially among women, children and the marginalized populations in Mchinji district. PACHI trained the Umoyo theatre for development group to assist with the amplication of malaria prevention and control messages in the district.
On September 10, 2018 , Umoyo theatre for development group started conducting series of awareness campaigns in strategic places in TA Mkanda, Mduwa and Gumba. This was done to ensure that there’s increased knowledge of Malaria prevention and control in the district. In all venues the group disseminated messages on malaria prevention and control through role plays. The role plays carried specific messages on cultural beliefs in regards to use of protected nets per community site.
Awareness campaign at Chiputu, TA Mkanda
Communities in Mchinji have beliefs which hinder them from using the mosquito nets ie men lacking sexual pleasure when they sleep under bed nets, nets attract bed bugs etc. At one gathering, a community member from Mduwa had this to say “It was out of ignorance that we were shunning these nets with a belief that, with mosquito nets, there are less chances of being sexually active at night as a result of lack of mosquito disturbances. Through the role plays we have learnt a lot that Mosquito nets have nothing to do with sexual pleasure. We have simply believed what is not true which has affected the community mindset” said James Nkhoma of Maole village.
James Nkhoma, Maole Village
Communities from Mkanda living in the borders of Malawi and Zambia are fond of selling mosquito nets in-between countries; others use the mosquito nets for Soya farming, garden construction and fishing. These have a negative impact on people’s lives. The awareness campaigns have been beneficial in provision of an eye opener to communities on how to prevent and control malaria in the district.
In all community sites messages were also disseminated through poems and traditional songs by trained poets on Malaria Prevention and control and district ingoma dance troupe.