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Health Communication for Life

  • East and Southern Africa Regional Office
  • Malawi
2016 - 2021

The Health Communication for Life (HC4L) project supports the Government of Malawi’s efforts to increase public demand for quality, sustainable, priority health services and products. With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the project works to expand citizens’ motivation, opportunity and ability to use these resources, while building the capacity of the government and key institutional partners to support national social and behavioral change communication (SBCC) programming.

Local and regional experts are implementing the project with support from a predominantly Malawian consortium of partners, including the Creative Center for Community Mobilization, Story Workshop Educational Trust and the University of Witwatersrand. The project focuses on increasing the demand for health care services and promoting the adoption of positive health behaviors in the following areas:

  • Family planning and reproductive health
  • Food safety and control of aflatoxins
  • HIV
  • Malaria
  • Maternal, neonatal and child health
  • Nutrition
  • Social accountability
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene

Since April 2020, the project has supported the government to design and implement evidence-based SBCC interventions to support COVID-19 public health measures, including:

  • Providing accurate information on COVID-19 transmission, prevention and vaccination and combatting misinformation about the disease and vaccines
  • Creating demand for and promoting acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines among eligible populations
  • Increasing risk perception through a variety of risk communication interventions to motivate individuals, communities and institutions to help prevent COVID-19 transmission and further spread of the disease
  • Advising on safe and appropriate home care and home-based management for patients with COVID-19 infection or symptoms, in compliance with national prevention guidelines

Strategic information and communication

To achieve its goals, the project:

  • Strategically uses data and leverages partnerships to conduct activities that address Malawi’s local health challenges, respecting sociocultural contexts and behavioral norms
  • Uses an integrated health communication platform based on a participatory-action media approach; will develop community-facing messages through an audience-centered process that is coordinated closely with the Malawian Health Education Department
  • Strengthens capacities of the Health Education Department and 28 district local governments to lead and coordinate SBCC programs at the national and subnational levels 
  • Strengthens capacities of 12 local organizations to design, implement, monitor and evaluate quality SBCC programs

HC4L contributes to the achievement of the USAID/Malawi’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy for 2020-2025 and is based on the development hypothesis that: If national capacity is built to design, implement, monitor and evaluate effective health communications that include the reduction of societal and cultural barriers, then individuals, households and communities will increase their use of priority health services and positive health practices.

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