TWR plans to produce a series focusing on healthy living to help Zimbabweans facing diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis A, malaria and HIV/AIDS in situations where basic health care and sanitation are lacking. Although poverty and disease have taken some peoples' eyes off the gospel, others have testified that their struggles have made their faith stronger. TWR seeks to provide programmeming that will address the physical as well as spiritual needs of people.
A cholera epidemic broke out in Zimbabwe in August 2008. By March 2009, over 91,000 cases had been reported and more than 4,000 people had died. The spread of the disease was exacerbated by poor sanitation and a lack of knowledge about prevention and treatment. TWR responded by producing programmes to teach people about the disease. By mid-December, episodes of the series were being broadcast on medium wave, as well as being distributed to aid workers from the World Health Organization.
Unfortunately, cholera is not the only medical issue affecting Zimbabweans. The breakdown of public health services and infrastructure has drastically reduced the availability of medicine and medical services. The life expectancy of the average Zimbabwean has dropped to just 35 years, the lowest in the world. Sanitation-related infections are soaring, there are an estimated 400 HIV/AIDS-related deaths per day and the national tuberculosis testing centre only has one staff member.
Healthy Living is a follow-up to the recent cholera programmes, but will expand to cover a wider range of issues. Healthy Living is a sanitation, nutrition and personal hygiene series that will provide practical advice as well as offer comfort, hope and salvation. The health needs in Zimbabwe must be tackled through persistent programme delivery to ensure that the message reaches every home and city, and that a lasting impact is felt.
ERF-Medien in Switzerland has already pledged to help raise funds to contribute towards the series. Once funding is secured, production of Healthy Living can begin. Healthy Living will take the format of 52 15-minute episodes in the Shona language, which is spoken by 80% of the population. It will be broadcast from Swaziland on medium wave.
Some additional topics that will be covered in the series are: health and healing; different types of cancer; depression; alcohol abuse; personal hygiene; nutrition; diabetes; malaria; and other topics that may arise from listener feedback. The programme will be produced in Zimbabwe with Zimbabwean presenters and doctors who better understand the local health issues.
This series is urgently needed by the people of Zimbabwe as they recover from the country's socio-economic problems and one that TWR wants to see happen. Your donation of R20, R50, R100 or more can help us bring this message of hope and healing to people who desperately need to hear it.
(Sources: BBC News, CIA World Factbook)