Balaka is one of the districts which is located in the southern region of Malawi. According to the 2018 Census Preliminary report, one of its Traditional Authorities (T/As) is T/A Nsamala. T/A Nsamala has a total of 38,865 people of which 17,621 are males and 21,244 are females who are over the age of 18 years. The majority of the people tend to live in the rural part of the district.
One of them is Thandi Chiyembekezo, 21, who is married to Rodrick Luka, 24. Together, they live at Saiwa village, Group Village Saiwa. Thandi is a 4-month-old pregnant. To earn a living, together they do conduct a business of selling tomatoes and vegetables.
The husband, Rodrick also owns a barbershop at Chiendausiku trading center which also acts as part of their socio-economic activities.
Thandi said that her family used to suffer from malaria every month but did not go to the hospital to receive enough treatment that they require.
“We used to go to a nearby grocery and buy a painkiller to get healed when one of our family members gets sick from malaria until Chendausiku Radio Listening Club (RLC) visited our house and shared us heath advises on how we can protect our family from mosquito attacks that cause malaria,” said Thandi.
A health Surveillance Assistant (HSA) at Chiendausiku Health Center who is also a patron for Chiendausiku RLC, Stoewelo Chambwinja, said that they visited the house since they noted that they have a child who is below the age of five and also that the couple asked them to visit their house as they were interested with their health-related duties in the village.
Chambwinja said that they visited Thandi’s house on the day when Thandi and Rodrick were at home so that health advice on the importance of sleeping under a mosquito.
“We advised them that sleeping under mosquito nets helps to prevent any couple from the attack of malaria and other waterborne diseases. We also advised the couple to be cleaning all the stagnant water and even slashing all the bushes around their house since it prevents the breeding of mosquitos that results in malaria” said Chambwinja.
Chambwinja also said that they advised them to be going for Antenatal Care at Chiendausiku Health Centre to receive further information on the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net and other health-related information.
Thandi said that the same week after receiving health advice from Chiendausiku RLC, she went to Chiendausiku health center with her husband. Thandi said that health personnel at the hospital shared similar information on the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net. They were then given a mosquito net to be using at night.
“We started sleeping under a mosquito net and we no longer started experiencing and malaria attack in our family,” said Thandi.
Since Thandi was one-month-old pregnant when they were going to the health center, she said that she received fancidar and even being advised on the importance of the medication.
“I was told that fancidar prevents the pregnant woman and the unborn baby from the attack of malaria,” said Thandi
Thandi said that Chiendausiku RLC then paid them another visit in the next month to monitor them on whether they have started sleeping under a mosquito net and even if they went to the hospital to receive further health advice.
Apart from advising them on the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net, Chambwinja said that they also advised them to be eating food that is rich in the six groups of food nutrients as it prevents the baby from being born with malnutritional diseases and even the mother form suffering from different diseases.
“We were educated on the six groups of food nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, minerals, and vitamins together with the functions they play in our bodies and even the unborn child. At first, we did not know that there are six groups of food nutrients and their functions as well,” said Thandi.
Thandi said that they now eat food that is rich in six groups of food nutrients every day to achieve the health advice they received from Chambwinja.
Chambwinja also added that, concerning the wheel of life-saving practices, they advised the couple of Thandi on going to the hospital when they notice dangerous signs of pregnancy rather than using traditional medicine to be healed since they are not reliable as they are prone to a complication on the pregnancy.
“We even advised them that when it is time for delivery, the husband is supposed to prepare transport arrangements to get the wife to Chambwinja health center, even to buy towel, basin, clothes to be used during that period. We even informed the couple that excessive breastfeeding shall be a must within 6 months after delivering the baby, “ said Chambwinja.
Bearing in mind that hygiene and sanitation is also another important topic that any pregnant couple and even couple with children below the age of 5 should be putting into action, Chambwinja said they advised Thandi’s couple that they should have a clean and well-constructed toilet rather than using their neighbor’s toilet. Also, that they should be washing hands after visiting the toilet, before and after eating anything