As part of the qualitative arm of the RCZI study, “Identifying Sources, Pathways and Risk Drivers in Ecosystems of JE in an Epidemic-prone North Indian district”, the study team interacted in multiple settings with the target groups. One of the most glaring gaps in the community’s understanding of JE was their lack of awareness on what exactly was JE, how it was transmitted, what should be their response and who should be their first point of contact, in case of any symptoms.
Post the study, the researchers set to work with the communication team to produce a range of materials that could further inform, dispel myths and educate target groups with relevant information. The “Comic strip series on JE” emerged from this exercise. A set of five A-4 sized comic strips have been designed, with scenes accompanied by blurbs, dialogue boxes and narrative in colour. Using easily identifiable characters like the ASHA Didi (Health worker), Medical Officer, Primary Health Centre, Anganwadi Worker, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), Pradhanji (village leader) and community members, the stories were woven together. The comic strips were pretested amongst students, parents and other communication professionals and their feedback served to further refine the content plan, design, characters and storyline.
The comic strip series will strengthen this basket of informative materials and will be disseminated through donors and government agencies in ways that benefit the community. The larger goal is to contribute to bringing about stronger health seeking behaviour, especially with respect to JE/AES.
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JE outbreaks are being reported from previously unknown foci. Further, encephalitis outbreaks of other aetiologies in endemic areas have only added to their complexity. For programme managers, researchers and community health professionals, access to accurate and updated information is key to planning interventions and other relief measures.read more