October 21, 2020

Conceptions on Breathing in Malawi: Inspiring and Expiring

Kasuzi C. Mbaluko

Breathing is critical to life. It is a precious gift that restores balance and peace of mind in life. Paying attention to breathing puts humans at the centre of every experience, provides insight into the body thoughts and emotions, and gives one a say in how one responds as life unfolds. People discuss breathing in plain language and in metaphors.

My presentation will be in the form of a film and oral presentation. This will feature the different thoughts that people have around breathing and the facts of breathing. There will be an exploration of conceptions and socio-cultural issues that people in Malawi have regarding breathing. For instance, there is a misconception that inhaling steam is an effective treatment against coronavirus. Some people think that steam vapour disintegrates and kills the virus. On the contrary, there are scientific thoughts that if that steam vapour gets inside the body in an attempt to kill the virus, the lungs would also be irreparably damaged. There are also claims that steam therapy with neem can prevent COVID-19. The presentation will capture some of the ways in which people breathe such as shallow and deep breathing. It will also explore thoughts that people who have had breathing problems, especially in life threatening diseases, view breathing and life.

Understanding the conception of breathing is crucial in interventions aimed at responding to diseases that affect breathing in that construction of faulty mental models can be prevented in a timely manner. There will be lifesaving information about breathing to people, empowering individuals to make better informed health decisions.  This transports us to the heart of local communities, which hold the power to help bring life-saving interventions to breathing especially in this era of Covid-19, ultimately, achieve a healthy nation. This will not just bring science to life, but also offer relevant information to a mass audience threatened by Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases. By making the film and discussions personal, practical and memorable, audiences will retain critical health information in a context that reflects Malawian life and values.

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Kasuzi C Mbaluko

About Kasuzi C. Mbaluko

Kasuzi C. Mbaluko is a Malawian public health and development practitioner. He earned a Bachelor of Education (Humanities) from University of Malawi in 2003. He acquired MA Development Studies from Nelson Mandela University in 2015. Kasuzi has worked in rural public health and social development for the past sixteen years. He has a generalist background in programme designing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. He qualified for Project Management for Development Professionals (PMD Pro) levels 1 and 2 in 2012. He is a certified trainer in Project Management for Development. He has attended various trainings and acquired certificates in advocacy, mental health psychosocial services, disaster management, HIV and AIDS response and, child protection.