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Slum Radio – Educating Parents [Updated 6th Jan 2015]

As per WHO, Diarrhoea and Acute Respiratory illness (ARI) are the leading cause of death in children under five and are responsible for killing around 760,000 children every year. In Urban slums areas, Child survival is threatened by environmental factors such as overcrowding, poor environmental conditions, poor methods of faeces disposal and high poverty levels, exposing under 5 Children in particular to diseases. Our idea is a program that tackles the problem of " inadequate source of health information" among parents in Slums on the topmost killer disease (diarrhoea and Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI)) among children under 5 (Updated 4th Dec'14)

Photo of Andrew Binns
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Low health literacy among parents living in slums results in an inability to understand and use health care materials effectively. Parents who fail to understand the health risks often fail to appreciate the benefits of early detection and how to effectively treat diarrhoea and Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI), which are major killers among under five children. Low health literacy may influence choice of information source, how well information is absorbed, and how complex messages can be while still being effectively conveyed. 

Diarrhea and ARI prevention and control messaging using a Slum Radio Station (SRS) will broadcast diarrhea and ARI related information using interactive and culturally appropriate messages for a sustainable and effective impact in promoting disease awareness and education among parents of under five children. SRS will be used as the most effective venue for reaching parents with information about prevention, early detection and control of diarrhea and ARI. The SR Station will employ volunteers from Slums to reinforce health messaging using parents as change agents by encouraging them to promote diseases awareness, key preparedness and response (Updated 2nd Dec'14).
Diarrhea and ARI messages on SRS will be tailored to target parents (under 5) and will provide a forum for 2-way communication via live radio shows, during which listeners can engage messengers and each other to obtain health and other information. This could include for example information on how to treat mild diarrhea at home with oral rehydration therapy, thus preventing expensive medical treatment and hospitalization. Govt. Health official personal will be invited for on-air interviews, and community health promotions can be run this way. The SR stations will be effective change agents by encouraging community partnerships and promoting diseases awareness, key preparedness and response, education, and other community issues, including those related to Malnutrition.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

The primary beneficiaries of this idea will be the parents of children (targeted to the under 5 age group). Diarrhea and ARI messages on Slum Radio (SR) Station will be tailored to target parents and designed to contain interactive elements customized to local community concerns. SRS will provide a forum for 2-way communication via live radio shows, during which listeners can engage messengers and each other to obtain health and other information. The SR Station idea will be implemented in Slums of India/Kenya.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

Radio messaging is a long-trusted source of information which makes an effective way to educate parents especially mothers on disease prevention and control. The SR station will be tested in local slum as per below stratergy. 1. Seek help from local University students – Student volunteers from University Health department will be approached to design and survey baseline data for Knowledge Attitude Practice (KAP) among parents of under five children in Slums. 2. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) - A 60 second (10 times a day for one month) interactive radio spot will be requested from the local FM radio stations to broadcast diarrhea and ARI disease identification, prevention and treatment. (Updated 15th Dec'14) 3. After a months’ time, a small section of parents in Slums will be consulted to discuss the effectiveness of radio messaging related to diarrhea and ARI related messaging.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

We need two things from OpenIDEO; 1. Feedback from experts of OpenIDEO community. 2. We will use OpenIDEO name and contacts during initial discussions with local Universities in countries where we want to test this idea.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am looking for partners that might be interested in taking this idea forward in their communities.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kağan Rüstem

You mentioned that you would employ people from the slums to re-enforce the message you are trying to convey. Exactly what will they be doing to achieve this. Do you think maybe they could be used as more of a Q & A service rather than just re-iterating the same message people will be hearing on the radio?

Photo of Irene Blas

Maybe they could take the message to those people who do not have access to that radio, and this way you will be able to spread out your system quicker and more effectively. It is a great idea! The first educators for chlidren are their parents so they are the first that ahould have the info to be able to make their children thrive. If they do not know whats the correct way to do it there is a problem there. Parents always give their best to their children but maybe they do not know what is that best. Educate parents to educate their children.. great!

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