Moyo ndi Mpamba, Usamalireni (Life is Precious, Take Care of It) is an interactive communications campaign designed to address public health challenges in Malawi. Moyo ndi Mpamba includes a Music4Life Initiative that engages local artists in promoting health through songs, dance, drama, quizzes, and health talks. Working alongside the Music4Life show is a reality radio programme, which encourages listeners to interact with the show using SMS (text messaging), social media, and music to communicate health messages.The project is a partnership between the Ministry of Health and SSDI-Communication, a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project managed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (JHUCCP).

Communication Strategies: 

Moyo ndi Mpamba's approach is to link good health to a person’s ability to advocate on his/her behalf and make positive health choices. The comprehensive platform uses communication interventions across Malawi’s priority health areas, including maternal, newborn and child health; family planning; nutrition; malaria; HIV and AIDS; and water, sanitation and hygiene. Health messages are designed and packaged under a healthy lifestyle theme, using examples of families doing simple actions to stay healthy and happy, such as sleeping under mosquito nets every night, going for antenatal care, eating nutritious foods, using modern contraceptives, drinking safe water, and many others.

Through the Music4Life Initiative, the Moyo ndi Mpamba Campaign uses music to promote health messages. It includes a campaign theme song performed by celebrity musicians and the Moyo ndi Mphamba Music4Life Festival, which challenged artists to compete with self-composed music featuring health-centred messages. Regional competitions were hosted for three weeks leading up to a grand finale. The health compositions by the artists were then compiled into a Music4Life album, which was made available to the public, and various radio stations in the country. The project built the capacity of presenters of radio programmes on how they can effectively use music for health promotion.

Besides the Music4Life initiative, the campaign also included a reality radio programme based on real people and their stories, which highlight how their lives have changed as a result of adopting and adhering to the Essential Health Package best practices. The programme also covers stories of people whose lives and families have suffered the consequences for not practicing the Essential Health Package best practices. Overall, the programme seeks to inspire individuals and families to take action towards health seeking behaviours, in addition to influencing communities to create a supportive environment for the prevention and control of health related problems.

Listeners are encouraged to respond to the programme and engage with the campaign via SMS or the Moyo ndi Mpamba facebook page. Social media is used to reinforce healthy behaviours and provide feedback for further programming. According to the producers, SMS and social media were chosen because letters take long to arrive, and phone calls are more expensive than SMS. More importantly, Malawi has seen a sharp increase in the use of social media as a means of reaching a wider range of people, including those in rural areas.

Development Issues: 

Health, Maternal and child health, Family planning, Nutrition, Malaria, HIV and AIDS, and Water, sanitation and hygiene

Key Points: 

According to the producers, the radio drama "has proved very successful with many people claiming to have made personal changes in their lives as a result of the show. On an individual level, there have been stories of people seeking medical help within 24 hours of the onset of fever, using mosquito nets and attending antenatal classes for the required four visits. On a community level, more public toilets have been built, hand-washing facilities in communities have been installed and home births are less frequent."

Partner Text: 

Malawi Ministry of Health, SSDI-Communication, United States Agency for International Development, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (JHUCCP).

Source: 

Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes Website, eHealth News Africa Website, and Times Media website on August 13 2015, and email from Triza Hara from SSDI-Communication on August 5 2016.