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Youth in Uganda Use Drama to Combat Malaria

Youth in Uganda are designing their own activities to fight malaria. With support from Banyan Global on the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Malaria Action Program for Districts (MAPD), Ugandan youth have designed a variety of activities to combat malaria in their communities, including football tournaments, kite-flying events, and drama shows.  

In Yumbe Town Council, a county in northwest Uganda, a group of young aspiring actors wrote a play about the myths and misconceptions surrounding malaria. These MAPD Youth Champions volunteer for the program by performing their play in villages around the county. In early 2020, Banyan Global’s MAPD gender and youth specialists held a focus group discussion with the Youth Champions, district health leaders, and local chairpersons to discuss the positive effect of the play and the larger Vijana Leo activity, of which the play is a product.

MAPD Youth Champions in Uganda perform a play they wrote about the negative consequences of not treating malaria.

To kick off the discussion, the Youth Champions performed the play they wrote. The story begins when long lasting-insecticide treated nets (LLINs) are distributed to a community. One family uses the nets to sleep under at night, while another family uses them for other purposes, such as catching animals and fixing their shoes. When that family’s daughter contracts malaria, they take her to a witch doctor instead of a health facility, which has negative impacts on her health. In the end, the first family helps the other family understand why going to a witch doctor instead of a health facility for treatment is not helping their daughter overcome the illness.  The family stops taking their daughter to the witch doctor, gives her the proper medication, and starts sleeping under an LLIN at night. Eventually, the two fathers become friends.