As one way of combating malaria and cholera diseases in the country, YONECO, with funding from USAID through Health Communication for Life (HC4L) Project reached out to 10,506 people with Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and malaria messages.
YONECO is implementing the project in four districts of Chikwawa, Salima, Nkhotakota and Nkhatabay conducted community participatory theatre performances aimed at increasing awareness on malaria and cholera which mostly affects the four districts.
Speaking on behalf of Salima District Health Promotion Officer, Senior Health Surveillance Assistant, William Kaunda, applauded the initiative saying it came at a time when the district is struggling to contain cholera outbreak which has affected several social-economic aspects of life in the district.
According to Kaunda, performances that were conducted will facilitate the fight against cholera and promote good hygiene practices. In his remarks, Kaunda further said that the participatory aspect of the campaign will also ensure that there is knowledge diffusion among community members.
“As a district health office we would like to appreciate YONECO Theatre Troupe for brilliant performances and above all the dances and plays were well blended with awareness messages to fight against cholera which has lately claimed four lives in our district”, said Kaunda.
Through the interactive drama performances, YONECO Cultural Troupe established that people from parts of Chikwawa district do not have adequate information pertaining to correct use of mosquito bed nets.
Senior Group Village Zimphonje admitted that most of his subjects misuse bed nets, while others use them to catch fish others are using them to protect their vegetables against animals.
“We have been telling them to change their mind sets on the use of bed nets to protect themselves from malaria which is deadly” said Zimphonje.
However, in Nkhotakota it was discovered that most households living along the lake do not have toilets.
James Kamanga who hails from the area of traditional authority Kafuzira believed that it is a waste of time to construct toilets in his area because most of time they do not endure the rainy season.
“We use the lake for defecation because we are tired of constructing toilets each and every year as they cannot withstand the rainy season. This is a major setback to our community when it comes to efforts towards ending open defecation” said James.
It is expected that things are likely to change because communities were involved to identify gaps in the two thematic areas as well as finding solutions to address the gaps.
In total the YONECO Cultural Troupe conducted 20 performance across the four districts which the project is being implemented.