Radio Programmes Inspire Better Health Service Delivery
It’s a sunny Monday afternoon when a team from DGF visits the maternity ward at Kagadi Hospital. There, one young man stands out amidst the rows of beds with new and expectant mothers. 32 year old Ronald Tumusiime roams the corridors freely, greeting and later introducing the team to medical officers and patients alike.
From their warm reception, it is evident that his is not a new face at the hospital. Ronald’s popularity has developed from hosting “Our Parliament” and other programmes on Kagadi Kibaale Community Radio (KKCR) station.
KKCR, which is located in the heart of western Uganda, has a listenership of over 1.8 million in Kibaale, Hoima, Kiboga, Ntoroko, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, Kyankwanzi, Masindi, Buliisa, Mubende, Kabarole and Kyenjojo districts. Since 2012, DGF has supported WizArts Foundation to produce a high quality weekly magazine radio programme that summarizes Parliamentary proceedings in a narrated documentary format. The programme has an interview segment during which area MPs clarify parliamentary issues in the local language to their constituents and hold a call-in question & answer session.
To ensure quality of the programme, WizArts provided media training to two KKCR journalists, one being Ronald. He describes the experience as an invaluable one that has enabled him to add value to the programming at KKCR. The “Our Parliament” programme, which runs from 9-11am every Saturday on KKCR under the name “Iraka Ryawe” (your voice), includes an interactive segment where community members call in to engage their MPs and contribute to the discussions. Ronald proudly narrates a unique result of one particular episode of the programme. ”The state of health care”, which covered Parliament’s debates on the topic, was discussed passionately by area MPs with community members calling in to give testimonies of mothers who had lost their lives or babies on the way to the hospital”. Fortunately, an official from Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) happened to be listening in and responded by commissioning a research on the state of access to health facilities in Kibaale District. These research findings then fed into a policy brief that was used by area MPs to lobby for the prioritization of Kibaale District on the Uganda Health Systems Strengthening Project (UHSSP).Following that, Kibaale District was facilitated with two ambulances, one in 2013 and the other in the first quarter of 2014.
On this particular visit to the hospital, Ronald introduces the team to Emily Nyakaisiki, a 24 year old mother, who has just delivered her third child. She tells the DGF team that she came to the hospital in an ambulance all the way from Nyakashema Village in Lutete Sub County, in Kibaale District, some 30 km from the hospital. “It is because of that ambulance that mothers like Nyakaisiki were able to deliver safely,” Ronald says. “Interestingly, patients call KKCR when they need ambulance services because they attribute the ambulances to the radio station’s programmes.”
DGF partners with WizArts Foundation to produce a weekly feature programme on the Parliament, in English and 4 other languages. Its purpose is to provide information to the public about legislative processes and Parliamentary debates. By June 2014, 103 episodes had been recorded on topics ranging from the Marriage and Divorce Bill to the Youth Livelihood Programme. In a 2014 national survey, 18% of respondents said they had heard of the program, of which 46% said they liked it due to its educative and informative nature. The programme is currently broadcast on 52 radio stations around the country including KKCR.