Rose Manjomo is a young mother aged 27 who lives at Mwawalo Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kazembe in Mulanje district. Growing up in a rural part of the district, Rose’s knowledge of health information was based on cultural beliefs from the community. For example, Rose was told by community members that any pregnant woman is supposed to go to the hospital during the 9th month of her pregnancy, which is usually the time of delivering the baby.
With the coming in of Health Communication for Life (HC4L) project in Mulanje district, Kazembe Radio Listening Club (RLC) was among the 14 community structures that Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) is implementing with under Moyo ndi Mpamba campaign funded by USAID through FHI360.
The Chairperson for Kazembe RLC, Peter Maida, said that after receiving training on health issues by CRECCOM through Moyo ndi Mpamba campaign, the RLC was given Wheel of Life Saving Practices and identify pregnant couples or single mothers with a baby of fewer than 5 years old to enhance the health status of the mother and the baby.
“After the training by CRECCOM under Moyo ndi Mpamba campaign, and receiving the Wheel of Life Saving practices, Rose’s house was among the houses we identified and placed the Wheel of Life Saving Practices since we knew that Rose was 3 months pregnant and this was in February 2021. Another reason we identified her was that she was not going for Antenatal Care (ANC) services at the nearest health facility, Chambe Health Centre,” said Peter.
After identifying Rise’s house, Peter said that they did not waste much time rather than providing health advice on the Wheel of Life Saving Practices to ensure that the cultural beliefs that were internalized inside Rose’s mind vanished.
“We advised Rose on the importance of going to the nearby health facility when a woman is pregnant and even the role the husband has to play in any family during the time a wife is pregnant,” said Peter.
With a smile on her face, Rose said that Kazembe RLC brightened up her mind on the importance of going to the hospital together with her husband.
“Since Kazembe RLC found me when I was 3 months old pregnant and I was not going for ANC service during that time at any nearby health center, the health advice I received from them following the introduction of the Wheel in my life helped to change my belief on health issues and also, it helped to educate me on new knowledge on health that I together with my family did not know,” said Rose.
Rose added that by going to the hospital together with her husband, the husband also has been educated on health issues that a husband needs to know and assist the pregnant woman during the time of pregnancy, during birth, and after birth.
When she went to Chambe health center for the first time, Rose said that she received Facida as part of her first medication being a pregnant woman.
“I was given Facida by the burses and they advised me that the medication prevents the pregnant woman from suffering from malaria and any other diseases. Then I was given a mosquito net to be sleeping under it with my husband every night to prevent ourselves from the attack of mosquitoes that might malaria to us,” said Rose.
Rose said that she has been sleeping for years in her life without using mosquito nets and has been suffering from malaria since the village is located near dambo land and mosquitoes never get tired of breeding every month.
“I was a victim of malaria before I received some advice from Chambe health center on the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net since I thought sleeping under the mosquito net could cause panic and loss of energy when sleeping under it at night. I now know the importance of sleeping under the mosquito net and a night never goes to sleep without sleeping under it,” said Rose.
Apart from sleeping under a mosquito net, Rose said that by going to a health center, she also received valuable information on eating food that is rich in six groups of food nutrients.
“At first, I was just taking in different kinds of food without knowing the groups of food nutrients the food contains. As of now, I together with my husband, know the six groups of food nutrients and the examples of food that we need to take in ensuring that the food we eat possesses the six groups of food nutrients. I was advised that when a pregnant woman eats food that is rich in the six groups of food nutrients. I was told that a baby is born with good health and receives all the necessary nutrients that any newborn baby requires and this also prevents his or her from any kind of sickness,” said Rose.
Since Rose was going to Chambe health center with her husband, Mike Mponda, who is 30 years of age, the husband added that by going to the health center together with his wife, hygiene and sanitation, Is also another important topic the two received.
“ As first, we were using the bushes for urinating and defecating since our house is located near a dambo land, we have our toilet which we use for helping ourselves,” said Mike.
Apart from just having a toilet, Mike said that his family received some good health habits of washing hands with soap after visiting the toilet, before and after eating anything and also to be keeping their toilet clean all the time. They were told that this prevents bad odors that contribute to air pollution.