C3 has had the wonderful opportunity to work with an amazing team of 4 Malaysian public health professionals – all women!
The Better Health Programme Malaysia (BHP MYS) is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the delivery partners include PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Research Triangle Institute (RTI) and the Malaysian Ministry of Health. BHP Malaysia involves a community-driven, bottom-up approach to improve health literacy through the use of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) who want to promote healthy living and modify the obesogenic environment for the urban poor.
C3 has been providing technical guidance to the team on non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention interventions and process evaluation. The team worked tirelessly from the early fall through the winter, dealing with the ups and downs and closures that occurred due to the pandemic in order to build a set of interventions that included community input. This bottom up approach was essential to the design of the interventions and made this particular project unique.
Despite COVID-19, they were able to gather several thousand surveys, conduct numerous focus groups and stakeholder interviews and hold plenty of zoom meetings with global team members. And – they always had a smile on their face whenever we had our zoom calls – even with the 12 hour time difference where the C3 team was eating breakfast while the Malaysian team were at home trying to get their family dinners ready! The intervention package has been designed and approved by the multiple stakeholders and partners involved and they will be delivered over a 6-month period. A rigorous evaluation design including process and outcome evaluation is also underway.
We wish our Malaysian friends well and hope for a successful project to improve the health of urban poor in Malaysia. Lessons learned from this work will be pivotal in moving this from a pilot to full implementation for the Ministry of Health.