For a long time art has been viewed as a platform that is only there to provide entertainment to the masses and yet it has more to offer.
Things are now changing as artists are coming out to play a role in disseminating information particularly on health matters which are key to human beings.
Recently, a number of artists took to social media platforms to talk about malaria, one of the diseases which continues to claim lots of lives in the country.
One of the artists who has taken the disease head on using music is Code Sangala who alongside fellow musician Annemarie Quinn from United Kingdom came together to create Music against Malaria organisation.
Through the organization, Code and Annemarie have been on a serious drive of raising funds for hospitals in the country in the fight against malaria.
“I suffered malaria which nearly killed me and since then I have taken the lead to fight the disease. As an artist, I thought of the best way to reach out to people on this and music came up,” Code of the ‘Kumaziore’ fame said.
Code has been on his social media platform speaking highly of the World Malaria Week 2021 and has been urging people to go to the hospital if they encounter any signs of malaria and at the same sleep in mosquito nets.
“If you go to the hospital today, you will see that one of the diseases that continues to kill people is malaria and I thought being one of the influencers, I should use my social media to reach out to the people,” he said.
Another artist who has been in the forefront speaking volumes of the dangers of malaria is gospel musician Thocco Katimba.
Katimba through his social media page has been calling upon pregnant women to go to the hospital and get proper advice in the fight against malaria and also get mosquito nets to protect the unborn child.
“I am not an expert but we are living in tough times where we are fighting various diseases and as an artist, my social media page is followed by a lot of people and I thought I should help in bringing awareness to people on the dangers of the disease,” Katimba said.
The artist said it was high time artists used their platforms to discuss pertinent issues.
“There is more that I want to do but I am looking at utilising my social media platform more to reach out to people on various health issues and the idea is to bring awareness and also help in bringing about change,” he said.
Code and Katimba are among the 20 social media influencers who were recruited and drilled recently by Applied Development Communications and Training Services (Adecots).
The other influencers who are part of the list include Ethel Kamwendo Banda, Atoht Manje, Evans Meleka, Ahmed Pilo, Nepman, Eliza Mponya, Miracle Chinga, King Chambieco, Leslie Moyo and Shammah Vocals.
Social media influencer Gerald Kampanika, poet Robert Chiwamba and comedian Tannah Harawa are also part of the list.
“We are there not only to offer entertainment but we are also there to use this talent to bring awareness on various issues and health is very important. We need to talk about all these diseases. In these difficult times where we are battling Covid, we also need to talk about other diseases such as malaria,” Kamwendo Banda said.
Adecots Executive Director Mercy Simbi said recently that they were happy to drill social media influencers through the Moyo ndi Mpamba social media campaign.
“ This is all about promoting a health package which includes malaria focusing on World Malaria Week, nutrition, maternal, neonatal and child health, water and sanitation, hygiene and family planning and sexual and reproductive health,” Simbi said.
She said she was happy to learn that social influencers have utilised what they were drilled on and use them on their social media platforms to create discussions and help bring about change.
Usaid/Malawi, through FHI 360 Health Communication for Life (HC4L) Project, is supporting the Ministry of Health-Health Education Services (MOHP-HES) through Adecots to design, implement and monitor high quality malaria, MNCH, Wash, nutrition and Covid among others.