Can radio drama improve child health and nutrition in Somalia?
People who listened to a radio drama and magazine programme about child health and nutrition in Somaliland knew more than non-listeners about how to prevent and treat children’s illnesses, and practised what they learned.
After decades of civil conflict and recurring natural disasters, almost 15 out of every 100 children in Somalia die before their fifth birthday, leaving the country with the world’s fourth-highest under-five mortality rate.1 To help address the poor behaviours around nutrition, hygiene and health that contribute to this, BBC Media Action, with support from Unicef, implemented a media and communication project in Somalia from 2011 to 2013.
Its main output was Tiraarka Qoyska (Pillars of the Family), a weekly radio health programme that ran for 75 episodes on BBC Somali. The programme included an interactive health magazine segment and a drama called Dareemo (meaning “hay” to emphasise the programme’s rural setting), both of which covered the same health topic each week. This research briefing presents key findings on the impact of listening to the programme.