Radio programs on community health improve information and increase uptake of health services
Recently, the h2n team worked with the Muarivai Women’s Association in Namara, Cabo Delgado, a local association consisting of 20 women that was founded in 2015, as part of an ongoing effort to develop partnerships between community radio stations and local associations in the northern provinces. Through the CRP2 project funded by Norway, h2n is facilitating collaboration between the radio stations and several predominantly rural associations, a task that falls within the broader objective of creating avenues for increased civic participation, especially for women’s organizations.
“In the past, it was normal for people here to not seek prenatal care,” says Raimundo Malapa, secretary of the Namara administrative post. “People did not use bed nets, and women delivered at home, so we had many deaths.” Over a period of time, however, the information to the community has improved significantly through radio programs broadcast on Radio Mpharama in Balama, that are often supported by local organizations. The station broadcasts the Saude & Video podcast produced by h2n and the local Saude na Comunidade program. “Now, women seek prenatal care, attend their sessions and go to the hospital [health center] at the time of delivery,” says Malapa. People also used to refuse vaccination initiatives, but have been educated about the importance of vaccination through the radio programs. “Mobile health brigades came to vaccinate the children, but the parents did not take their children [for vaccination],” says Joana Simão, a member of the association. “Now, I see women take their children to the hospital voluntarily and no longer expect brigades.”
h2n currently works in half of the districts in Cabo Delgado on efforts to strengthen civic participation and improve health outcomes. h2n works with community-based communication, produces television programs and videos, organizes youth centers and pursues a comprehensive gender equality agenda.