The continent of Africa with its 52 countries is one with incredible opportunities in the face
of many challenges. The land itself is diverse topographically, with a large representation of
agroecological climates and food diversity of over 150 food crops of which 115 are indigenous that make Africa distinctive. The population, an estimated 800 million with the youngest population bulge has quadrupled in the last 50 years with a low life expectancy of below 50 years of age in many countries and unacceptable rates of maternal and child mortality. Furthermore, Africa has seen income disparity increase further in the last decades which directly impacts those who are food insecure and hungry.
According to research by United Nation Development Program (UNDP) in 2012, Malawi also suffers from a high burden of undernutrition. Stunted growth among children under five, remains staggeringly high as compared to other African countries.
Low intake of food that is rich in food nutrients among young couples living in rural areas of Malawi is very common. One of the major reasons is illiteracy on the six groups of food nutrients and even examples of food that possess such kind of food nutrients.
Eunice Kalumba who is 27 and married to Godfrey Nyadani, 29, lives at Kambadi Village, Group Village Head Kambadi, Traditional Authority Nsamala in Balaka district. Together, the couple has three children and their last child is less than one year old.
The husband, Godfrey, grows vegetables and this makes them earn a living. Eunice said that she was happy when she was approached by Chendausiku Radio Listening Club (RLC) with health messages concerning food nutrients and others.
“Chendausiku gave us the wheel of life-saving practices and advised us to paste it on the wall inside the house where we can be able to see it. One of the beneficial health messages we received from CHiendausiku RL was about eating rich food in six groups of food nutrients. They advised us that eating food that is rich in six groups of food nutrients helps the baby to grow healthy and even prevents her from different malnutritional diseases. The RLC said that this is because every food nutrient plays a very critical role in the body. For example; carbohydrates help to increase energy levels in the body, and vitamins help to fight against different diseases,” Eunice said.
Health Surveillance Assistant (HSA), Chambwinja, said that they approached the family of Eunice and Godfrey since they saw that they have a child who was less than a year. Chambwinja also said that they also want to ensure that the couple receives more health advice to ensure that there are no problems in their family on health.
Chambwinja said that they also found out that the couple was not going to the nearby health facility together to receive health advice which was not appropriate.
“We advised the couple that going to the health facility together helps the couple to effectively receive the necessary information that any health family deserves,” said Chambwinja.
Eunice said that the next month after being advised on the importance of going to the health facility with her husband and they benefitted a lot since they used to never go together.
“In most of the times, I used to go to the health center all alone where I had to stand on the long queue before receiving health treatment by the nurses.
According to the global malaria action plan, 2008, Malaria is a complex and deadly disease that puts approximately 3.3 billion people at risk in 109 countries and territories around the world. In 2000, there were between 350 and 500 million cases of malaria and at least one million deaths worldwide, most of them in African children.1 In addition to its health toll, malaria places a heavy economic burden on many endemic countries, contributing to the cycle of poverty and limiting economic development. For example, Africa alone is estimated to lose at least US$ 12 billion per year in direct losses (e.g. illness, treatment, premature death), and many times more than that in lost economic growth.
Bearing in mind that this is a very important topic, Eunice said that when they arrived at the hospital they were also advised on the dangers of not sleeping under a mosquito net as it causes malaria which is one of the deadliest diseases on earth.
“We were given a mosquito net that we are now sleeping under it every night. We used to never sleep under a mosquito net as we thought it was useless and other people used to tell us that it causes panic when sleeping at night,” said Eunice.
Apart from that, Eunice also said that they received health advice on excessive breastfeeding and even the importance of breastfeeding the baby even if he or she is sick. To Eunice’s couple, this was not known but with the coming in of Moyo ndi Mamba campaign under Health Communication for Life (HC4L) project being implemented by Creative Center for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM), everything changed in their lives since they were very blind on health-related issues in their family.