This article describes social mobilisation activities for "Mother and Child Days" and other health and vaccination campaigns that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is conducting with non-gov
Global Health TV, October 29 2010. Image credit: © UNICEF Pakistan/2010/Dhayi
This article reports on a grassroots initiative - a gathering of educated scientists in Uganda that has "turned into a social event that is changing the health behaviour of people in poor, rural commu
Email from Siân Aggett to The Communication Initiative on October 11 2010; and Bulletin of the World Health Organization Volume 88, Number 10, pages 721-722.
In September 2007, a mobile recording studio was set up in Bo, Sierra Leone, initiated by Christian Aid, to help the town’s musicians and HIV peer educators make an album of anti-HIV songs called "H
According to the organisers, there is a lot of evidence to show that young people in Sierra Leone will listen to messages from other young people - but that messages created by adults for young people are often ignored. They feel that if more appropriate materials were available - such as, for instance, culturally sensitive songs and music videos about HIV, with non-stigmatising lyrics - then this would allow a greater impact on target audiences. In addition, many young people in Sierra Leone missed out on years of education because of the civil war and cannot read or write.
Christian Aid's music and animation projects began in 2007 with the production of an album of popular music and two animations to bring HIV messages to youth audiences through popular culture. Peer educators from Christian Aid’s partner the
Methodist Resource Youth Centre (MYRC) sang the music. Supported by Christian Aid, a three-person team travelled to Sierra Leone to record the music and conduct animation workshops with local peer educators. The resulting music can be listened to on My Space and the animation viewed on the HIV Sierra Leone website.
The project was designed to empower youth and to allow for income-generating activities in the future. Some of the relevant software was left behind in Sierra Leone after the recording and video work was completed, and recording techniques were taught that can be duplicated using equipment already in place. This plan was used to make the benefits of the project as sustainable as possible.
Music was subsequently recorded in Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and an animated film was created about malaria for use in the DRC. The DRC initiative uses animation and music to inform people about how, by following a few simple steps, they can protect themselves and their families from malaria. The animation was disseminated through Christian Aid’s community-based partner networks in the DRC. According to Christian Aid, these projects reflect a determination to find new and engaging ways to capture audiences - particularly youth - in countries affected by preventable and life-threatening diseases such as HIV and malaria. Click here to view the malaria animation called "Moustique".
The Sierra Leone project was nominated for the 2009 One World Media Special Award, which is granted for "an outstanding media project or organisation working on the ground in the developing world, which has made a real impact on the lives of those living and working near it."
The adult literacy rate is 29.6%; youth literacy is 38.2%. In this environment, music and video are considered effective ways of delivering important information. In this environment, music and video are considered effective ways of delivering important information.
Christian Aid, KPMG, Focusrite Audio
This 33-page sermon guide was designed to help Muslim and Christian religious leaders understand the dangers of malaria, and what they can do to help save the lives of the people under their care. According to the publishers, the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty (CIFA), religious leaders have a profound ability to change statistics of people dying of malaria, and to lead the fight against malaria at the community level.
CIFA website on July 8 2010.
This short-form document on achieving and maintaining the goals of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and of national malaria programmes presents summary guidelines to assist in the develop
PMI website, March 17 2010.
These tools, designed for the Malaria Prevention Campaign in Ethiopia and launched in the Oromia Region by the C-Change Program, recognise the role communities can play in taking specific actions.
Oromiffa and English
C-Change website, February 23 2010, and June 1 2010; and email from Emily Bockh, September 7 2010.
Rural Internet Kiosks (RIK) is a Kenyan-based organisation that manufactures and distributes movable, recyclable, cost-effective kiosks that operate with satellite connectivity and solar energy to ena
Rural Internet Kiosks produces kiosks that are independent, freestanding booths functioning on solar power and other forms of renewable energy. Each kiosk houses 3 energy-efficient personal computers. The kiosks are modelled on user-friendly software and hardware and are manufactured and assembled in a "knock-down" format, enabling them to be easily transported and set up in even very rugged regions.
The kiosks have been designed to give access to all users, including children and the disabled. According to RIK, they are also working on ways to use portable USB pen screen readers and accessible websites, which will help the visually impaired access information. Screen readers could also help people who can understand, but not necessarily read, English.
The kiosks are designed to promote entrepreneurship and electronic service delivery within rural and urban settings and, in turn, facilitate e-commerce, e-education, e-health, and e-governance. The organisers say that the kiosks have helped farmers obtain regular updates on weather patterns and produce prices, thereby expanding their revenue. Business start-ups have been able to exploit digital multimedia advertising. The internet kiosks are helping government agencies to create awareness concerning health and environment and reach out to local communities. Through the use of multimedia information outlets, communities can also access information about infectious diseases such as malaria, polio, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. The kiosks also create platforms for the promotion of tele-medicine, which is still in its infancy in most African countries.
The kiosks use the open-source Ubuntu Linux operating system, as well as other open-source software. This virtualisation technology allows up to 10 uses to share a single personal computer (PC).
Information and Communication Technology, Economic Development, Agriculture.
The RIK project was developed by Jitu Patani, also project manager at Rural Internet Kiosk, who has a vision of bridging the digital divide by providing the last mile access to rural or remote communities. RIK is working to help Africa move towards the Millennium Development Goal of Bridging the Digital Divide by year 2015.
Rural Internet Kiosks, InterSat, and Userful.
eLearning Africa website on February 5 2010.
United Against Malaria (UAM) is a partnership of football teams (so-called "soccer" teams in the United States), celebrities, health and advocacy organisations, governments, and corporations who are g
UAM centres around an edutainment strategy in the form of the "Kick Malaria" Facebook game. Their presence on social networks is also intended to draw on social networking platforms to spread the word about malaria.
Printed materials are also being used to raise awareness. For instance, in January 2010 18 UAM billboards were erected in Mali's capital, Bamako, in an effort to help educate the public about malaria prevention and treatment through eye-catching messages. The billboards convey catchy adages such as "2010, the year of victory over malaria" and "One Team One Goal." They also provide educational information about prevention and treatment options, instructing the public to sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets every night, bring pregnant women to prenatal consultations, and take children with fevers to the nearest health clinic. These messages are displayed alongside national football heroes to encourage football fans across the country to protect themselves from malaria.
A variety of in-person, sports-oriented activities are also being planned - and are described on the interactive UAM website. For example, in November 2009, Charles Ssali, the face of the UAM campaign, participated in a game called "Mosquito Tag," which helps provide lessons on how to prevent malaria, while visiting a primary school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. "Seleme seleme, eya seleme aha", an Amharic statement meaning "peace to all" is the title of the song used to warm up children participating in the game. Charles lent his voice to the game by saying that he had learned that it was important to clear bushes and stagnant water around living environments so as to destroy the breeding areas for the mosquitoes. Such play-based learning exercises were meant to help children learn to protect themselves against infectious and preventable diseases such as malaria.
Organisers cite the following statistics:
- Malaria kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds and nearly one million people each year.
- Worldwide, 3.3 billion people are at risk of malaria.
- 91% of malaria deaths occur in Africa; 85% of these are children under 5 years of age.
Comic Relief, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Malaria No More, PATH, Population Services International (PSI), the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and the United Nations Foundation.
UAM website, February 9 2010.
Launched in September 2009, "SMS for Life" is a public-private partnership that harnesses everyday technology to eliminate antimalarial stock-outs and improve access to essential medicines in sub-Saharan Africa. The programme was initiated by Novartis under the umbrella of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership, with the involvement of International Business Machines (IBM), Vodafone, Google, and the Ministry of Health for Tanzania.
Through the use of mobile phones, SMS technologies, and websites, SMS for Life delivers antimalarial stock information to track and manage these medicines. Healthcare staff located at local public clinics receive automated SMS messages each week that prompt them to check the remaining stock of antimalarial medicines. Using toll-free numbers, staff can reply with an SMS to a central database system providing details of stock levels. Electronic maps are used to provide a geographic overview of medicine stock status and needs. The programme is designed to help ensure that deliveries of medicines are made before supplies run out.
The concept of using text messaging to improve stock management was developed by healthcare company Novartis and further researched and refined in collaboration with a team of international students taking part in the IBM internship programme Extreme Blue. IBM provided management resources to the project and Vodafone was invited to develop and manage the system. After visits to clinics, hospitals, and dispensaries across Tanzania, IBM, Novartis, and Vodafone initiated a 6-month SMS for Life pilot, covering 226 villages and over one million people in different locations across Tanzania. Novartis took the lead in defining the proposed solution, sourcing the partners, establishing a Steering Committee, and liaising with the Ministry of Health of Tanzania.
For more information about SMS for Life, please visit the project website.
Malaria, Health, Information and Communication Technologies.
In 2010, malaria killed 655,000 people, 91% of malaria-related deaths occur in Africa, the majority of whom are children under 5 years of age. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that a child dies from the disease every 60 seconds.
Malaria is a treatable and preventable disease, but treatments such as artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are not always available to patients, particularly those living in remote areas. In many countries, mothers have only a 50% chance of obtaining an antimalarial for their child at a local health facility. Research conducted by partners involved in the SMS for Life project found that antimalarial medicine supply challenges were essentially logistical and technological and were also due to the unavailability of information. Enough medicines were available, but sufficient quantities were not getting to local clinics in a timely manner. SMS for Life was developed to combat this logistical shortfall.
During the first eight weeks of the SMS for Life pilot in Tanzania, the number of health facilities with stock-outs in one district alone was reduced by over 75%. In addition, at the beginning of the pilot, 26% of the facilities had no dose form of the Novartis ACT and, by the end, this figure had been cut to less than 1%.
Following the pilot, as of February 2013, SMS for Life has been rolled out across Tanzania, with over 5,000 public health facilities trained and reporting on a weekly basis. Tracking of tuberculosis and leprosy medicines has also been added.
In Ghana, also following a pilot in six districts, sponsored by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Novartis is working with the Ghana Health Service on planning a full country scale-up. In Kenya, another pilot has been completed, and Novartis is working with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) on a plan for a full country scale-up. In Cameroon, with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Novartis and its partners are in the planning phase for a full country scale-up of malaria medicine tracking, in addition to collecting patient surveillance data on the use of rapid diagnostic tests.
Since 2001, Novartis has delivered more than 500 million malaria treatments to patients in the public sector of more than 60 malaria-endemic countries.
The RBM Partnership is the global framework for coordinated action against malaria. It seeks to provide a neutral platform for consensus-building and developing solutions to challenges in the implementation of malaria control interventions and strategies. RBM also facilitates the incubation of new ideas and lends support to innovative approaches. The Partnership promotes high-level political commitment in an effort to keep malaria high on the global agenda. Founded by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), WHO, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and more than 500 partner organisations, the Partnership works to secure policy guidance and financial and technical support for control efforts in countries and monitors progress toward universal goals.
IBM, Vodafone, Novartis, and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
The India-based content and design service provider Chillibreeeze is working to spread awareness about hazards of malaria through a comic book designed to engage Indian children, who can then go on to
This entertainment-education (E-E) initiative draws on the observation that engaging comic book characters - as opposed to sometimes boring and didactic brochures - can have a lasting effect on young minds: "Education here occurs via osmosis and the content on malaria is there but not in your face. The goal is to get kids to enjoy it." Having developed the book - available in PDF format by clicking here - Chillibreeze distributed a printed version of the comic book to Class Five students in 3 schools in Shillong, Meghalaya, India, where the company is headquartered. To gauge the effectiveness of the comic book, Chillibreeze staff conducted pre-distribution and post-distribution quizzes with what were intended to be attractive prizes.
Specifically, Chillibreeze staff arrived at each school after prior permission from the principals and talked to the students about the upcoming malaria quiz contest. Students were given 10 minutes to complete a multiple choice quiz; each was then given a copy of the malaria comic book. The students were told that Chillibreeze would be returning soon for the final quiz contest. The best performance would be rewarded with a certificate and a prize. The post-distribution contests were conducted a few days after the day the comics were distributed. "The students showed a visible improvement in their knowledge about Malaria as indicated by their quiz answers."
Chillibreeze is working to ensure wide distribution of "A Tale of Two Magic Potions" at a low cost, and also hopes to translate the book into various Indian languages and to distribute it free of cost at public schools across India, especially in areas with high prevalence of malaria. Volunteer participation is Chillibreeze's strategy; people are asked to:
- send suggestions/ideas for the project and how Chillibreeze can make it self-sustaining;
- spread the word about the book both online and offline (blog about the project, use social networks, etc.);
- help publish articles in the press about the project;
- contact: governments; municipality schools; paediatricians/community health care clinics; non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or corporate organisations to request help with printing and distributing the book;
- help translate the book into one's mother tongue/any Indian language;
- read the book out loud to an underprivileged child; and
- visit "A Tale of Two Magic Potions"' Facebook page to discuss the book and collaborate with other volunteers.
Health, Children, Youth.
According to Dr. Nishi Viswanathan, one of the directors at Chillibreeze, "Though it is essentially a preventable disease, hundreds of people in India die of Malaria. Distributing mosquito nets will help to a certain extent but the long term solution lies in empowering tomorrow's citizens with knowledge. Of course, ours is a small effort and it has just begun..."