Newman Street, an edgy TV drama series that focuses on young vibrant Nigerians with huge dreams on overcoming their everyday challenges and ensuring that their dreams come true began screening series in communities. The screenings have taken place during community dialogues in some parts of Kebbi, Akwa Ibom, Nassarawa, Zamfara, Benue, Oyo and Lagos. Community screenings of Newman Street commenced in a bid to raise awareness and educate communities on the importance of Family Planning and Malaria prevention.
Newman Street’s entertainment-education approach uses unique stories of struggles of ordinary Nigerians in addressing health challenges. The first two seasons of the series, which focuses on malaria and family planning is packaged with several lessons on the best ways to live a healthy life. In sharing the stories of these characters, the TV series beams light on the ignorance of many and is deliberate in helping to raise awareness on the reality of malaria while encouraging the use of family planning methods.
At the community screenings, key scenes from the series featuring stories of a particular character are used to emphasize and highlight the aspects of family planning and Malaria prevention. These stories usually run between 10 to 15 minutes after which the facilitator uses a discussion guide to stir up discussions around issues raised in the excerpt. The conversations are guided by the discussion guide which helps to explain and ensure that only quality information is disseminated across. For instance, at the screenings across all NURHI states, the importance of spousal communication and benefits of family planning are discussed.
Screenings of the Newman street witnesses huge attendance and interest during the community dialogue sessions. Community members bare their minds on issues raised in the stories and share personal experiences and lessons learnt following the episodes. Community members are usually excited to see key issues depicted in a real life story. They are also able to identify with characters, emotions and moral lessons portrayed in Andy, Tsav story as well as Mama and Papa Ejiro’s stories.
There is noticeable eagerness by people to share their experiences on malaria and family planning challenges after viewing the video. Collections of resounding testimonies of successes are recorded as communities report positive behavior adjustments in response to the family planning and malaria stories. Majority of the community members attest to the fact that they do not test for malaria when they have fever but rather engage in self-medication by patronizing patent medicine vendors for drugs. They affirmed that hence forth, serious attention would be paid to malaria and that for any slightest symptoms of fever they would go to the primary health care center within their communities for test and appropriate treatment and will ensure that they plan their families so as to provide and care for each child adequately.
In Kebbi State, a family head confirmed that he was educated through the screening of Newman Street on the need to access a Health Facility with his heavily pregnant wife until she was successfully delivered of a very healthy baby. While In Benue State, One Mrs Ngolumun Iorgem shared that though she and her family would normally go to a chemist or a native doctor whenever they suspected they had Malaria, the screening of Newman Street and the community dialogue have enlightened her on the dangers of not taking Malaria seriously and going to the hospital to seek proper medical attention.
Newman Street Testifiers:
- “This movie really talks to our people because it reveals in truth how we handle malaria issues-without urgency. The hospital is usually the last resort after all other options have been exhausted”Mal. Shehu Ibrahim (Augie LGA)
- “As soon as I watched the movie, my heart was moved to tears as I remembered how I lost my son some years back due to complicated malaria due as a result of ignorance, if only I had the understanding I have now perhaps my son would still be alive today. Prince Moh’d Bello (Zuru LGA)
- “The malaria film is very interesting and educating, it is a must watch for everyone in the community, I wish duplicated copies could be made for people who are not present today and may never have the opportunity to watch it on television.” (Fakai Kukah community leader (Fakai LGA)
- “The movie encourages discussion between partners about Family Planning and how it will help deepen sexual relationship, if properly understood” Mrs. Fehintola Adeboye (Ibadan)
- “I understand that Family Planning will help me achieve a better, happy and peaceful home.” Hajara Saminu (Kaduna).
Newman Street community screenings are supported with funding from the Nigerian Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI 2) and the Presidents’ Malaria Initiative (PMI)
These testimonials are just a few of the many shared by these community residents.
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