How Comics Save Lives In The Philippines

Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.

That’s what Wikipedia says, anyway. In the Philippines, they are fighting it with comics.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its Science and Technology Information Institute (STII) in collaboration with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) launched an anti-dengue comics using the mother tongue in Eastern Visayas.

Aristotle P. Carandang of DOST-STII said that the OL Trap comics written in Filipino and in various dialects including Ilocano, Pampango, Bicol, Waray-waray, Hiligaynon, and Cebuano were distributed to the regions to raise the knowledge and awareness of community folks on dengue and the OL Trap.

Here in Eastern Visayas, the anti-dengue comics titled “An OL Trap ha Barangay Madengue” was launched in the Rotary Club House this city.

But does it work?

The introduction of the anti-dengue comics as a tool in info dissemination has helped reduce dengue cases in the country since it was launched on July 27, 2012, Carandang said.

He also presented a graph showing the incidence of dengue cases in the country and reflecting also the period of decline in dengue cases with the introduction of the anti-dengue comics to the public.

Health organisations have been using comic books globally to convey such information to the public. Here is an example…

[issuu width=420 height=298 backgroundColor=%23222222 documentId=120927102202-c871bc2f723a42ed9645288c0be9fdd9 name=dengue username=richjohnston tag=anti%20dengue unit=px v=2]