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December 1, 2016

Five tips for success in health communication

Originally posted on the BBC Media Action Insight blog by Caroline Sugg, November 15 2016 - “Without strong communication, we are not going to achieve global health goals.” (Professor Peter Piot,...

November 30, 2016

Our Girls, Our Future

Originally posted on the BBC Media Action blog by Catherine Juma, November 22 2016 - Girls in South Sudan are less likely than boys to start school and more likely to drop out. Our radio producer...

November 30, 2016

Somalia: one of the toughest places to give birth in the world

Originally posted on the BBC Media Action Insight blog by Mohammed A. Gaas, November 15 2016 - A tribute to Amran Mahad, lead actress in Maalmo Dhaama Maanta (A Better Life than Today), an...

November 30, 2016

Myanmar: Our Wish, Our Question

Originally posted on the BBC Media Action blog by Yan Htaik Seng, November 1 2016 - We recount a nerve-racking visit to Myanmar’s ethnically diverse Kayin State - as it recovers from years of...

November 23, 2016

Does access to vocational training economically empowerment women?

Author: Ranjani K Murthy, November 23 2016 - Economic empowerment of women can be seen as a process of strengthening control of individual women over their labour, resources, information technology,...

November 23, 2016

Celebrate 27th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Universal Children's Day and Every Day

Author: Jacques Brodeur, November 23 2016 - Edupax seizes the opportunity of the 27th anniversary of the Convention to remind readers about various and important benefits of protecting children from...

November 23, 2016

Towards 16 days of activism against GBV: Championing the Right to Decent work for women at work in commercial farms

Author: Lilian Kiefer, November 23 2016 - As we approach the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV), action must be urgently taken to address the lack of respect for the right to...

November 16, 2016

Media, participation and social inclusion: what are the links?

Originally posted on the BBC Media Action Insight blog by Chris Snow on November 10 2016 - Reviewing the results of a survey of 23,000 people across seven countries, Chris Snow looks at the potential...

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Gambo, the radio show superfan

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Author: Haruna Kakangi, May 19 2016 - On a Thursday morning in the ancient town of Bauchi in north-east Nigeria, I’m sitting with a group of 10 men and seven women by the side of a road in a quiet neighbourhood. The sun is bright and hot, but we’re sitting on mats in the cool shade of a tree, and it seems like the perfect place to discuss a radio programme close to all of our hearts.

I’m a presenter and assistant producer on the Hausa-language radio magazine show Ya Take Ne Arewa (What’s Up in the North). YTNA, as we call it for short, covers a range of mother-and-child health topics: medical care for mothers during pregnancy, diarrhoea and malaria prevention, and other simple measures that can prevent unnecessary deaths and help people live healthier lives. It airs on radio stations across northern Nigeria, where rates of maternal and child mortality are high.


The people I’m with today in Bauchi are members of a listening group devoted to YTNA, organised by a man our team calls ‘the superfan’: Umar Faruk, aka ‘Gambo’.

“I never miss the programme,” he says with pride. “That’s the reason I carry my radio with me everywhere I go.”

Gambo, 35, is married with two children. His wife Shafa’atu is a regular listener too.

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A brush with Somalia's people smugglers

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Author: Mohammed A. Gaas, May 18 2016 - I came home from work to find my wife, visibly worried, standing at the gate. She had news about my teenage nephew.

"Abdirisaq hasn't come home yet. Something must have happened to him. He’s never been out beyond 6pm", she stressed as she flexed her fingers.

I tried to calm her but as the evening progressed, I had no choice but to go out and look for him. The first place I checked was his friend’s home, only to find out that his friend was missing too.

I checked the hospital and the central police station in vain.

It was now approaching midnight and my search was unfruitful - he was nowhere to be found. We spent the long night calling relatives and thinking of places he might have gone.

Illegal migration

Our biggest fear was that he had decided to migrate, like so many young men in our community, and was on his way to Ethiopia. The practice of illegal migration is known here as ‘tahrib’.

Many young men like him dream of destinations in Europe, Canada, Australia and America, hopeful of a better and brighter life.

The next day, I left at dawn accompanied by a police officer, driving towards one of the main migration points at the border town of Toog Wajale.

On arrival we were told by an immigration official that he suspected my nephew had already left with people smugglers.

I tried to persuade him to accompany us in our search.

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Developing the talent of Somali journalists

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Author: BBC Media Action's Abdillahi Jama, May 5 2016 - As a Somali journalist, I’ve seen a lot. As the 1991 civil war erupted in Mogadishu, bombs and bullets interrupted my journalism studies. Finding it impossible to finish - despite being in the final stage of writing up my thesis - I packed my bags to return to the relative safety of my family home in Somaliland.

On arrival, I found that war had weakened free-speech in Somaliland. There was no room for independent media and journalists were regularly harassed.

Imprisoned for setting up an independent newspaper

That’s why I helped set-up 'Voice of Hargeisa', Somaliland’s first independent newspaper. It was seen as a direct affront to the government of the time and I was imprisoned for a month along with my team. Only with the help of lawyer, Raqia Omaar (sister of former BBC Correspondent, Rageh Omaar) and a swell of public support, were we finally released.

Finding a job at Radio Hargeisa in 1992, I worked my way up the ladder from reporter to Head of Programmes.

Now, I work as a producer for BBC Media Action, helping develop Hiigsiga Nolosha (Inspirations for Life), an interactive radio show for Somali youth covering important subjects, such as relationships, unemployment and migration.

It’s at BBC Media Action that I met Sakariye, a talented young reporter employed by BBC Media Action as a radio station mentor, to strengthen the production and editorial skills of my old employer, Radio Hargeisa.

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A life-changing TV show

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Author: BBC Media Action's Bidhya Chapagain, May 5 2016 - I had first met Ujeli on a chilly morning outside a temporary shelter on top of a hill in Selang, Sindhupalchowk, just northeast of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. The encampment of rickety houses was home to 300 families, displaced from nearby villages by Nepal’s 2015 earthquake. Ujeli, a 15-year old girl, was one of the residents.

We’d spotted her playing with her friends while we were filming a special episode of Sajha Sawal (Common Questions), about improving accountability in Nepal's post-earthquake reconstruction efforts. The programme featured a Q&A between a government minister and villagers, who noted that the provision of adequate education and clean water had been slow. The minister promised he would highlight their issues in cabinet.

I found Ujeli very clever and full of dreams. She aspired to complete her education but was deeply worried she’d be married off before she had the chance.

She hoped, one day, of visiting the ‘tall buildings’ of the city. Her story touched thousands once the episode had broadcast and as a direct result of the programme, a benefactor offered her a scholarship to study at a school in Kathmandu.

I met Ujeli again last week, one year on from the earthquake that had destroyed her home and so many others.

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Data for Decision-Making: Empowering Local Data Use

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Authors: Lora Shimp, Technical Director, with Heather Randall, Program Coordinator, GAVI-NVI Project, May 4 2016 - As we celebrate World Immunization Week [April 25], it's important to remember that one way to "close the gap" on immunization services is by re-examining the wealth of data currently available at the country level and empowering health workers to leverage their historical data to reach their target populations more effectively.

The Expanded Program on Immunization has been in existence in most countries for more than 30 years. In the field of immunization, we are accustomed to collecting data: coverage by antigen; dropout between doses of the same vaccines; target population figures; enumeration and locations of these populations. We have reference documents, such as Immunization in Practice, that have been used in training for decades and updated regularly. We also now have dashboards and technology to help us synthesize and report these data.

But are we helping the end-line users and those collecting the data at its source to make decisions themselves with their own data? Are we too focused on the short-term data (this month, this year) and not on analysis of the trends and how our program and activities are faring over time?

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Can a Pilot Succeed?: Lessons Learned in Engaging Stakeholders for HPV Introduction

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Authors: Lora Shimp, Technical Director, GAVI-NVI Project, and Heather Casciato, Program Manager, GAVI-NVI Project, May 4 2016 - This World Immunization Week [April 25] 2016, eyes are focused on countries' progress towards achieving the global immunization goals laid out in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020 (GVAP). One GVAP goal that the world is on track to meet is: 86 of at least 90 low- and middle-income countries have introduced one or more new or underutilized vaccines. Moving forward, it is critical to leverage this country enthusiasm and commitment to vaccine introduction, including with one of the world’s newer vaccines, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. HPV vaccine protects women from the most dangerous strains of HPV that lead to approximately 70% of cases of cervical cancer in women worldwide[1].

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Closing the Immunity Gap

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Author: Craig Burgess, Senior Technical Officer, JSI, May 4 2016 - Every child has the right to health and should have the opportunity to survive, develop, and reach their potential in the context of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Who can disagree?

Every child has the right to be immunized, but closing the immunity gap needs everyone to go beyond a) technical 'group think' comfort zone rhetoric; b) dusty plans lying in bottom drawers; and c) attending national and global health cocktail parties. We all need to better understand the reasons for inertia to addressing immunization inequities and actually reach marginalized populations with what they need. Marginalized communities have the greatest disease burden and least resources to respond to infection.

An immunity gap is everybody’s business: it leads to increased disease incidence, outbreaks and deaths from preventable disease – all of which have no respect for borders.

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Next Generation Immunization Supply Chains: Rethinking the Denominator and the Dose

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Author: Chris Wright, JSI Practice Lead, Data Visibility & Use, May 4 2016 - Today [April 25] is Innovation Day during World Immunization Week, and there are a lot of innovative ideas out there to reach every child. But innovation doesn’t always require radical new ideas. Sometimes it simply means challenging traditional approaches based on current information. For immunization supply chains, that means changing over 40 years of custom to embrace state-of-the-art commercial best practices.

Imagine a scenario in which a global soft drink company launches a new marketing strategy; it wants 100% of young consumers under five years old in every city, town and village around the world to drink 200 ml of its product at least once a year. The company launches a global advertising campaign and free give-away of their product to the targeted consumers to meet their goal. Imagine the company then produces sufficient quantities, and packages it in 2-litre bottles for supply chain convenience. Calculating 200 ml per person and 100 percent coverage, millions of bottles are distributed to tens of thousands of shops and community marketers based on census figures and catchment area estimates down to the last kilometer. Ethical considerations and community acceptance aside, it would never work from a supply chain perspective, because the population figures and the coverage assumptions are too inaccurate. But that is precisely the model that immunization supply chains have been following for the last 40 years.

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"Gifts and lifts": one reason girls drop out of school in South Sudan

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Author: Manyang David Mayar, April 26 2016 - In South Sudan, it’s not uncommon for older men to offer girls and young women gifts of transport, mobile phones and cash with the expectation of them starting a sexual relationship in return. This sometimes has disastrous consequences for their education.

Rose, aged 16, was a committed pupil before a relationship with an older man caused her to drop out of school. On her way to school one morning she arrived at the bus station and found there was no transport. She was stuck and didn’t know what to do when a man in his thirties cruised by in his car and offered her lift. Desperate not to be late for her morning lessons, she accepted the lift and jumped into the man’s car.

Rose, now 29, told her story to Florence Michael, a producer of Our School, a radio programme which discusses the importance of girls completing their education in South Sudan.

“On our way, he asked for my name, I introduced myself then he did the same,” Rose said. “Reaching school he asked me if we could meet again.”

Over the next few months, the man continued to give Rose lifts to school. He didn’t stop there. He gave her a whole variety of gifts, including money and a mobile phone. Not long after that, the man asked for something else.

He asked Rose to be his girlfriend. A few months later she was pregnant.

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Lao PDR's Polio Outbreak and Response: C4D efforts in reaching the last child

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The Complete Background to Lao PDR’s Polio Outbreak and Response

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