MASTER OF ARTS IN HEALTH & BEHAVIOUR CHANGE COMMUNICATION (MHBCC)


ESSENCE, AIM AND GOAL

The MHBCC program has been introduced to respond to the need and demand for qualified behaviour change communication (BCC) specialists. The goal of the program is therefore to support Malawi government’s effort of improving the health status of its population through empowerment of human resources so that they take professional lead in the health sector.


PROBLEM BACKGROUND


The introduction of the MHBCC has been stimulated by over 15 years of experience in the health Promotion and Communication in which the following gaps had been observed:

  • Slow behaviour change in heath issues as evidenced by continued infection rate in malaria, HIV and other STIs, TB and poor response to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and environmental issues.
  • Lack of trained media and communication specialists with full knowledge of both health and BCC.
  • A great number of communication specialists working the HBCC but not skilled or specialised in BCC
  • Great demand for SBCC specialists in the health domain as evidenced by adverts in print and electronic media


UNIQUENESS AND EXPECTED SKILLS


  1. The MHBCC combines knowledge of health, diseases, epidemiology and biostatistics with knowledge and skills on social and behaviour change communication (SBCC).
  2. It is designed to refine skills on developing and implementing effective projects and communication strategies for behaviour change
  3. It is crafted to sharpen skills on designing & producing materials (broadcast, print, electronic, visual) and on designing interpersonal media, advocacy, mobilization & projects for behaviour change
  4. It is dedicated to refine skills on effective management of health knowledge and information
  5. It is designed to empower learners with effective management of HBCC projects & programmes


CONTENT BASE AND ARRANGEMENT


The programme content is arranged to achieve incremental learning and refinement of skills as follows:

  1. Acquisition of knowledge and information on health, diseases, behaviour change & communications
  2. Sharpening skills on SBCC, Health Education and Promotions
  3. Implementation of the skills: Designing & production of BCC materials & communication strategies and project including interpersonal projects and programme for behaviour change.
  4. Management of HBCC initiatives, interventions, projects and programmes


MODULES, DURATION & MODE OF DELIVERY


The MHBCC is a two year programme covering 14 modules and will be offered on block release to afford students flexibility to study while working. It allocates six modules to the first semester and another six modules to the second semester. Semester three is dedicated to proposal development and the last semester to research and the thesis.

First Semester Modules: Diseases, Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Communications Management; Social and Behaviour Change Communication Theories; Mass Media and BCC Materials; Strategic Health Communications and Promotions; Monitoring and Evaluations.
Second Semester Modules: Environmental Health and Sustainable Development; Communications Ethics, Law and Health Rights; Knowledge and Health Management Information Systems; Interpersonal Media and Community Mobilization for Behaviour Change; Project Management; Research Methodology


TEACHING AND LEARNING RESOURCES


With financial support from Welcome Trust through National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) and managed by Centre for Water, Sanitation, Health & Appropriate Technology Development (WASHTED), the following teaching & learning resources have been developed for the program.

  • Audio-Oral Communication studio for production of audio BCC materials
  • Visual Communication Studio for production of audio visual materials
  • Audio Visual Resource Centre for documentation and presentations of audio visual materials


TARGET GROUPS FOR ADMISSION


The program targets those with not less than two years of experience in relevant health field and have a bachelor’s degree with a strong pass in any of the following: environmental health, communications, journalism, media studies, health promotions, health education, humanities or any other related field.


WHO OFFERS THE MHBCC


The programme has been designed by experts in Development, Social and Behaviour Change Communication in the Department of Language and Communications within the Faculty of Education and Media Studies and will be offered by the department in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Health (as main partners) who will offer health related modules.
Some modules will be offered by the departments of Mathematics; Computing, Information and Technology; Journalism and Media Studies, Business and Management Studies. Some experts will also be outsourced from the industry.


Admission criteria


For more information about the programme please contact:

Programme Coordinator
Masters of Arts in Health and Behaviour Change Communication (MHBCC)
Department of Language and Communications Studies
Polytechnic, University of Malawi, Private Bag 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi
Attention: Dr Peter Mhagama, pmhagama@poly.ac.mw

APPLICATION FORM FOR POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMMES