SSDI-Communication and the HES launched the Media4Life initiative to deepen the relationship between the health and media sectors in Malawi in order to advance public health in Malawi. The partnership built active, sustainable, and mutually beneficial synergy in the promotion of positive behavior change among the Malawi population, as well as increasing coverage, awareness, and advocacy on health related issues among the public.
The initiative provided a platform for media owners, senior media professionals, and public health practitioners to 1) discuss health and wellbeing issues relevant to Malawians, 2) foster a sense of commitment among participating journalists to feature health issues on their media platform, and 3) build capacity for health-related reporting. To achieve these goals, the initiative implemented a series of activities.
The Media4Life initiative included five main components: conferences, journalist trainings, media cafes, journalist fellowships, and equipment support.
The Media4Life initiative has resulted in the signing of memoranda of understanding between the Ministry of Health and 4 major media organizations (The Nation Publications, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Times Group and Zodiak Broadcasting Services) to guide a partnership for high-quality health reporting. Health stories are receiving increased coverage in all participating media houses, including 14 community radio stations. The Media4Life initiative also facilitated the formation of a national network of health reporters.