PEAs focus countries are typical third world countries characterized by among other things, killer diseases. The national governments and other non-state agencies have invested resources in fighting the key health challenges in the region namely, HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality but the burden still remains enormous. Besides, the livelihoods and health of the population in this region are directly dependent on the natural environment. The health of the population is by far determined by the quality of environment in which they live; the geographical location of the countries for instance, predisposes them to malaria and malnutrition. Means of livelihoods are determined by environmental features with communities occupying dry areas engaging in pastoralism while those in wetter areas engage in crop farming. The linkage between the environment, health and livelihood is therefore crucial if poverty, disease and ignorance is to be addressed and work towards achieving sustainable development is realised in Eastern Africa.
Governments and Civil Society actors have made commendable efforts in designing and implementing policies and projects to communicate health, environmental and livelihood issues. Awareness campaigns on HIV/AIDS and TB as well as climate change have achieved remarkable results. However, the main gap that remains is the lack of a multi-stakeholder approach in addressing these issues. The glaring absentee is the media.
PEA recognizes that with the rapidly growing population; with 60% of the land area within the region being categorized as semi-arid and with poverty and disease burden especially malaria, HIV/Aids and TB, high maternal and infant mortality among others, the quality of life of people within the region remains fragile. Therefore, various health communications interventions shall be instrumental in enabling community information access, facilitating their engagement with power-holders and demanding service delivery. PEA will thus design interventions to improve the quality of public health, environment and livelihoods through effective communication in partnership with the media. Interventions will be edged on generating new knowledge, improving access to existing information and creation of dialogue platforms among others.
Therefore PEA over the next five years shall work towards “improved access and engagement with quality information on health, environment and livelihoods.”
Work with the media to illuminate and stimulate debate
Enable communities to be responsible and demand improved service delivery
Enriched public debate and policy action
Emergence of functioning pressure groups
Sustainable environmental, health and livelihood practices