Kasiya Radio Listening Club (RLC) from Traditional Authority Wimbe, Group village headman Kasiya in Kasungu district is making great strides in ending waterborne diseases. It is one of the local structures working under the Health Communication for Life (HC4L); a social behavior change project that seeks to improve the health-seeking practices of rural masses to foster health service uptake.
Established in 2017, the club is at the forefront ensuring that people in the area are well informed on health issues affecting them.
While conducting their monthly community outreach meeting in November 2019, the club, headed by its chairperson Ida Banda, realized that there were continuous diarrhea cases in the area, which affected people’s productivity.
“We found that most of our fellow members of this community were still drinking water from unprotected wells and the nearby Livwezi river, both of which are unprotected sources,” Banda said, explaining what her team found out from their research. The club then conducted research on this issue, through which it was found out that most of the community fetched their drinking water from unprotected wells and a nearby river. This was because the community only has one borehole and cannot cater to over 1000 households.
“This, in itself is not wrong as people have no alternative. However, we also found that many people lacked the knowledge on the need to treat water before consumption,” she added.
A month after conducting the awareness meeting, the club started receiving positive feedback from the members of the community. Cases of diarrhea were already decreasing, tremendously. This was later confirmed through the area’s Health Surveillance Assistant (HSA) Phillip Masigale. According to Masigale, in January of the previous year, 2018, over 30 people were been treated with diarrhea. In 2020, no case was reported. After learning more about the situation, Kasiya RLC called for a community meeting where they sensitized members of the community to start boiling their water to kill the germs that cause diarrhea and other waterborne diseases.
“There indeed was a high occurrence of diarrhea cases in this area before the RLC started sensitizing the communities on the need to boil the water before use,” said Masigale, before adding: ‘The club’s interventions, as well as those of the other health committees it works hand in hand with has brought a greater impact on peoples’ lives in this community.” He said.
Group village headman Kasiya was also one of the diarrhea victims. In his remarks, he said people in the area are now healthy and productive, all because of the good work that the radio listening club is doing.
“My family and I were also victims of frequent diarrhea. We were ignorant of the need to treat our drinking water. This was putting our lives at risk. But now we have seen the change after getting sensitized by the club,” he Explained.
HC4L project, which started in 2017, uses Radio Listening Clubs and Community Theatre Groups to engage communities on different health issues affecting people’s daily lives, by distributing health messages through community sensitizations and home visits