Main Article Content
‘Urunana’ is a 15-minute episodic radio drama that has been broadcast for 16 years on BBC, Radio 10 and Radio Rwanda. The program was designed to broadcast messages that educate Rwandans on current health issues, specifically, diseases associated with sexual reproduction in order to fight against HIV/AIDS. Additionally, the program transmits messages on family planning and maternal issues including safe pregnancy practices. However, no studies have been conducted to assess its effectiveness in the transmission of safe pregnancy practices among couples living in rural areas where maternal mortality and morbidity is high.
A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted to find out the effects of exposure to Urunana on the awareness of safe pregnancy practices among couples in Rwanda’s rural areas. The study sought to determine the extent to which the program helped to increase the rural couples’ knowledge and practice of birth preparedness, complication readiness and other safe pregnancy practices.
The study applied mixed methods of data collection and was conducted on 196 couples sampled from seven rural districts across Rwanda. 91.1 % (n=329) of couples reported having heard of Urunana radio drama. Furthermore, respondents reported they learned how to ensure safe pregnancy to varying degrees through listening to Urunana drama. Through the positive characters in Urunana’s story lines, couples realized the importance of saving money for childbirth.
Rwanda has a functional primary health system that supports health promotion campaigns through mass media, community health workers and other approaches. Thus, there is a need to conduct a multivariate case study to determine exactly the effect of Urunana drama in promoting safe pregnancy practices among couples living in rural areas.