Nanzikambe Arts has embarked on community mobilization on burns and scalds prevention among children aged below five years in Blantyre district with funding from Rotary Club International.
The arts institution has been awarded a grant of US$10,500 (about K7.7 million at current exchange rate) by Rotary Club International. The funding covers the period July 2017 to June 2018 and the project is targeting parents in hard to reach areas of Blantyre district.
According to Nanzikambe Arts Managing Director, Chris Nditani, the project started in 2010 with funding support from the Tropical Health Education Trust (THET) of Scotland.
“Over time, the project also expanded to cover other districts such as Mwanza, Balaka, Ntcheu and Mulanje, districts with the highest prevalence of burns cases and incidents. The funding support from THET was expended in February this year and a proposal for funding that was submitted to Rotary Global Grants was successful hence the continuation of the project,” explained Nditani.
Nditani said the project aimed at educating people in communities about the gravity of burns and scalds as a national issue and how to prevent burns and scalds from happening so as to lessen admissions into the Burns Unit at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.
Some of the hard-to-reach areas that the project is targeting include: Makalanga, Misewu 6, Kwa Linze, Nakulenga, Nkhalamba and Linthipe in Machinjili; Mateme, Msika wa Njala, Gayesi, Mtoso and ku Anyamata in Mbayani; Safarao, Soweto, Zambia and Malabada in Ndirande Township and Namende and Mwamphanzi in Madziabango and Dziwe and Chikuli in Chileka.
Nanzikambe Arts is expected to use theatre performances to mobile communities. The performances started on Thursday 6th July, 2017 at Chikuli in Chileka and will continue for the next 12 months.
“Over the past six years, the project has been to primary schools, health centres and market spaces in all Blantyre district townships and so we felt that it is important to also reach out to the people in communities far away from proper trading centres, people who ordinarily would not afford even a radio set to catch messages on burns and scalds prevention.”
Nditani said that the community mobilization campaign started this month because research findings revealed that it is during winter that most burns incidents take place and that most accidents occur due to leaving children unsupervised or unattended to close to where open fires are.
He further said that the multi-media faceted project uses participatory theatre as a way of disseminating information to communities and has post performance discussions, focus group discussions, media visits to project sites, banners and message-based t/shirts for optimal message visibility.
Felistus Kamlonie, Nanzikambe Arts’ Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Coordinator for the project said that an end of project evaluation of the effectiveness of Nanzikambe Arts’ prevention programme on the incidences of burns that was done by colleagues from the University of Dundee in Scotland found out that there is an association between the implementation of the intervention by Nanzikambe Arts and a reduction in burn incidences.
“And that in order to be more successful in future, the performances must reach more people, for example via radio broadcasts, and target the parents of pre-school children rather than school aged children,” said Kamlonie.
Last week Wednesday Nanzikambe Arts staged a demonstration participatory drama show before guardians, hospital staff, visiting colleagues from the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians in Scotland and Rotarians from Rotary Club of Limbe within Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) premises.
Mike McKirdy, head of the delegation from the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians hailed the arts organization, saying: “You drew quite a crowd, who were very much engaged, and the burns prevention and initial treatment messages were clearly, and very humorously, conveyed.”
Locally, the project is overseen by the Rotary Club of Limbe and is implemented by Nanzikambe Arts with technical support from the Burns Unit at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and the Blantyre District Health Office and its accompanying two units, namely: the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and Health Education Unit (HEU).
The funding support from Rotary Club International runs for a year after which it is hoped that the project will evolve into a National Burns Prevention Programme to run for several years with funding support from the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians in Glasgow, Scotland.
During that time, the scope of work for the prevention part of the programme as spearheaded by Nanzikambe Arts will be looking at all aspects of burns and scalds (industrial burns, electricity-generated, among others) with the target group accordingly adjusted to include those.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :