Malaria No More (MNM) is continuing to develop new partnerships with radio stations across Cameroon to join in the fight against malaria under the K.O. PALU NightWatch campaign. On 17 June 2013, the Cameroon team delivered a certificate of recognition signed by the Minister of Public Health and the Minister of Communications, to Radio Health International (RHI) to acknowledge their contribution in the fight against malaria through K.O. Palu NightWatch Program. The team met with RHI director, Prof. Wilfred Mbacham, to discuss how to increase collaboration under the K.O. PALU NightWatch Program.
As an official media partner for the K.O. PALU Concert, RHI distributed over 250 tickets in the month preceding the World Malaria Day Concert. The success of this promotional activity increased listenership three fold during the month of April. Furthermore, it gave RHI a solid platform to build upon after the concert. RHI reaffirmed their commitment to partnering with MNM in the NightWatch campaign and had detailed suggestions for strengthening the relationship. For example, not only does RHI play the Samuel Eto’o Fils PSA every day but they also develop more interactive programs based on the K.O. PALU song.
Caleb Ayong, journalist and Director of Programs and Production, played an edited version of “The RHI Show,” his daily call-in program that incorporated the new malaria song world premiered during the finale of the K.O PALU Concert. Caleb used the lyrics from the malaria song to develop a simple true or false quiz. Caleb read the questions before playing the song and after hearing the song; listeners would call-in to give their responses. Caleb told the team that he wanted “…to not just play the song but explain the meaning of the song to my listeners.” Due the overwhelming response from listeners, the producer could not handle all of the calls that came into the station and asked for support from MNM to provide more promotional materials. This program is a great illustration on how radio stations can directly engage their audiences with targeted malaria messaging and the team is developing new quizzes for RHI based on the NightWatch Public Service Announcements (PSAs).
RHI has a broadcast radius that reaches most of Yaoundé and has an active listenership of over 70,000. Their programming includes all areas of public health including Malaria, HIV/AIDS prevention, support for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs). Additionally, Prof. Wilfred Mbacham is making great use of RHIs facilities. Prof. Mbacham was able to purchase equipment to manufacture mosquito nets. To do this in the limited space of a converted church, he mounted the equipment on wheels so that the chapel located behind the radio station can be converted into a factory. He was able to employ local women’s groups to produce 30,000 nets that can be sold for 3,500cfa each. He also uses the storage shed to teach PLWHA groups to harvest mushrooms to boost their nutritional intake.
RHI is a great example of how a commitment to improving the overall health of Cameroon can be achieved despite limited funding and physical space. Patience Fominyen, Journalist and Deputy Chief of RHI, has a clear vision for RHI over the coming years. According to Patience, “I would like us [RHI] to reach out beyond Yaoundé. We are making our content available on-line but we want to relay our programs on radio stations throughout the country.” MNM and Peace Corps will continue to work closely with RHI to ensure that Cameroonians are receiving lifesaving malaria messages and is thankful for their tremendous support.
To listen to RHI programs in Cameroon turn to 95.7 FM or visit the website: www.radiohealthinternational.org.