Engaging the Community: A Playful Approach to Malaria Awareness and Prevention
On the 5th of May, a community programme was held at Rumah Panjang Manok Manchal Sg Yong Kapit with the goal of promoting preventive measures against zoonotic malaria. Despite the fact that the local health authority in Kapit has held numerous health speech and malaria surveillance programmes, it was found that many residents, particularly those engaged in farming and forest activities, were still contracting malaria as a result of contact with infected mosquitoes.
The evening was filled with a variety of exciting activities, beginning with a game of snake and ladders. The huge 9 x 8 feet game mat captivated the attention of the participants as they played the game which centred around malaria awareness. Following this, the adults then raced to set up bed nets, competing to be the speediest participant to complete the challenge. One of the highlights of the night was the customary Iban dance called ‘ngajat ranyai’ around a tree adorned with malaria-related questions along with various prizes and food. Next, the community members were challenged to compete in the face painting of animals, insects or things associated with malaria. The finale of the night saw the “pekit kumang kebun” (best dressed farming beauty queen) contest, where the most creative and yet correctly dressed for farming was crowned queen. To heighten the competitiveness among all the participants, all these activities were scored. These activities were largely successful in engaging everyone in a fun and playful manner to learn more about malaria prevention.
The event, held in conjunction with World Malaria Day on April 25th, proved to be a resounding success. Overall, the event was highly effective in creating a greater awareness on malaria prevention among the community members, as they enjoyed the fun games and activities which also allowed for them to indirectly learn about malaria. This innovative approach effectively transformed the learning process into an enjoyable and memorable experience for all involved.
The UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI GCRF) and UNIMAS “Dana Lestari” provided funding support for this programme. The teams consisted of Dr. Paul Cliff Simon Divis and Dr. Angela Siner from the Malaria Research Center, Dr. Rekaya Vincent Balang and Dr. Ayu Akida Abdul Rashid from the Medical Faculty of UNIMAS, and Dr. Jacey-Lynn Minoi, Dr. Jaya Laxshmi Meenatchisundaram, and Ms. Jane Eleen Alison from the Gamification Centre.