A Brief Introduction to Community Engagement
A Brief Introduction to Malaria Diagnostics
Tanzania has been tackling the threat of well-known communicable diseases, such as malaria, for a long time now. However this has left non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, relatively neglected as a public health issue. Non-communicable, chronic diseases have quietly but rapidly ascended the morbidity and mortality ladders, especially high blood pressure.
This can be seen when comparing the leading causes of death in Tanzania between 2005-2016. Communicable diseases are slowly declining, with the most significant drops in HIV/AIDS and Malaria. However, ischemic heart disease has risen 46.9% and is the 4th highest cause of death in 2016 (5th in 2005), and cerebrovascular disease has risen 29.5% and is the 7th highest cause of death (9th in 2005). Both of these diseases can be caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, which are to a large extent lifestyle related diseases.
Health education is one way in which we can respond to lifestyle related diseases, since individuals need to be aware of the risks of developing diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and also aware of the ways they can change their lifestyles in order to improve their general health
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) (pilot 2018-)
The Voices of Dar Es Salaam – Mass Media Campaign
In 2018, the CDI health team put into production the pilot of a mass media health education campaign. This campaign involved the production of both TV and radio content in order to provide health education on various non-communicable diseases. By the end of the summer, we had produced of 6 x 15 minute TV episodes, which were aired nationally on two TV channels (Sibuka TV and Tabibu TV), and 8 x 1 minute radio spots, which were aired nationally on Sibuka FM a total of 1080 times between September and December 2018.
Mass media has been used as an effective tool in the past to provide lifesaving health education to great effect. Our mass media campaign aims to be effective by reaching a large audience with content that will promote individuals to change their lifestyles for the better and, in turn, reduce their lifestyle risk factors for developing non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. The content for the TV programme and radio spots emphasised community involvement. All episodes and spots dedicated time listening to people from various socioeconomic backgrounds in Dar Es Salaam, listening to their insights and stories about Non-Communicable Diseases.
In addition to the mass media campaign, we recognised that media channels are not always available, such as radios and especially TVs. In turn, we piloted an NCDs workshop that could be presented to more rural communities. The workshop content took large inspiration from the Dementia Friends campaign, where laymen are trained to give information sessions about dementia. In a similar fashion, we hope our workshop content can be used to train community leaders to present the content to their communities.
Our pilot workshops in the Vingunguti ward of Dar Es Salaam had 150 attendees. Our survey results showed that attendees did indeed have improved knowledge of NCDs at the end of the workshop.