Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Accurate information reduces HIV incidences

The battle against HIV/AIDS and its devastating impact is an increasing concern to ADRA Malawi. As a social issue HIV/AIDS has in so many ways retarded development at individual, family, community as well as national level. While on the other hand, young people are among the most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 
Good communication and accurate information on HIV/AIDS can allow young people and the nation as a whole to revise the myths, cultural practices and stigmas and discrimination that accelerate transmission in order to prevent the virus from further spread.
One of the ideal tools that ADRA Malawi has used is the media oriented programs.
These programs, which include radio talk shows, Lets Talk, and drama series, Tikuferanji (radio and television) and community video shows, have enhanced the dissemination of accurate and relevant information on HIV/AIDS. 
The programs promote access to comprehensive and reliable information in quest of behavioral changes with the special emphasis on life changing strategies.
These media program, Lets Talk and Tikuferanji? (which literally means why are we dying?) have offered a way for Malawians to find facts resulting in  eradication the myths and cultural practices that have far been contributing to the spread of the virus and reducing stigma and discrimination at national level.
Since these programs are aired to the whole nation, ADRA has to be sure that the messages are accurate and depict issues related to Malawi so that they change the nation for the better.
Having the programs also means that access to information on issues dwelling on HIV/AIDS, human rights, food security and other relevant issues is possible and easy.
For many years the radio and print media have been to major sources of information. However, since ADRA started the drama series on Television, it has proven that TV is also very powerful because of its visual aspect.
Tikuferanji TV program is one of the most watched programs on Television Malawi, so much that when it is not beamed there is always public outcry for the program.
Without a doubt the media oriented programs have changed the lives of so many people and have delivered accurate and important information to the nation.
Evidence exists that Communities have changed the way they view issues because of the information that they heard from ADRA Malawi media programs.

Authors: Ruth Simika/ Chikondi Madikiza-Madumuse

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