#19 hope
Maren Zeidler

Talking Pictures

When people aren’t able to read it doesn’t mean that education necessarily fails. With pictures telling stories or giving advice health education can be brought to the illiterate.

In rural areas of the global South, the ability to read and write is something that cannot be taken for granted. Illiteracy rates are very high among women in particular. At the same time, women and especially mothers occupy a unique position in maintaining the well-being of their families. They make health care decisions and during pregnancy and early childhood, they are the most important factors for reducing maternal and child mortality.

Pictures that tell a short story have proven to be an effective way of reaching women.

Pictures that tell a short story have proven to be an effective way of reaching women, mothers and pregnant women who cannot read. Images can communicate concepts such as, “If your child is coughing and their forehead is hot, see a doctor!”, “If you experience bleeding during pregnancy, go to the hospital!”, and more.

Pictures, comics and pictograms are primarily used in developing countries, though they have begun to spread in the industrialised world as well. In Germany, for example, many doctors, emergency physicians and chemists have begun using pictograms in their work. With the numbers of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries on the rise, pictures help health care providers communicate, allow patients to explain their symptoms, and help them understand how to take their medication properly.

Our photo spread shows some beautiful, artistic and at times humorous examples designed especially for women in rural areas.

Photo: Copyright Bill Reynolds

Education for former traditional birth attendants in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone faces one of the highest death rates in the world for newborns and pregnant women. Historically, women gave birth at home with the help of a traditional birth attendant who typically had little or no formal health care training. To encourage women to deliver at health facilities, in 2010 the government made health care free for pregnant women and young children, and discouraged traditional birth attendants from delivering babies at home. Despite these changes, women continued to have their babies at home because clinics were far away and short-staffed or were regarded with suspicion.
Concern Worldwide, a US NGO, worked with local artists to create cards to educate illiterate health care workers and the families they serve and improved the situation, especially for families who live far from a health centre.

Buy-a-Net educates health workers on fighting malaria

The organisation provides bed nets to local partners for distribution, and they educate volunteer community health workers in Uganda. Training covers areas like sanitation, the need to treat fever early, bed net use and care, as well as how to prevent and recognise the signs of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea and how to treat these diseases. Buy-a-Net uses training materials that are culturally sensitive and respect language and capacity. The example shown is from Uganda.

Buy-a-Net educates health workers on fighting malaria

The organization provides bed nets to local partners for distribution, and they educate volunteer community health workers in Uganda. Training covers areas like sanitation, the need to treat fever early, bed net use and care, as well as how to prevent and recognize the signs of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea and how to treat these diseases. Buy-a-Net uses training materials that are culturally sensitive and respect language and capacity. The example shown is from Uganda.

Stop TB! Campaign against tuberculosis in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the 22 high-burden tuberculosis countries worldwide. Launched by US AID and other partners working in Afghanistan, the Stop TB! campaign shows the symptoms of the onset of TB and how to deal with them. The pictures shown were printed in newspapers and magazines, broadcast on TV, and spread through inserts in school textbooks.
During US AID’s TB work in Afghanistan, the organization trained numerous health workers on TB detection and treatment and recently conducted first-ever training for 156 female health workers.

HIV education: murals in Belize

Belize has the highest HIV prevalence in Central America and the 3rd highest in the Caribbean with more than 4,800 people living with HIV. Since 2010, the government has taken action and HIV rates are slowly decreasing. An NGO in San Ignacio provides information via wall murals. Belize is the only country in the Caribbean where English is the official language.

HIV education: murals in Belize

Belize has the highest HIV prevalence in Central America and the 3rd highest in the Caribbean with more than 4,800 people living with HIV. Since 2010, the government has taken action and HIV rates are slowly decreasing. An NGO in San Ignacio provides information via wall murals. Belize is the only country in the Caribbean where English is the official language.

HIV education: murals in Belize

Belize has the highest HIV prevalence in Central America and the 3rd highest in the Caribbean with more than 4,800 people living with HIV. Since 2010, the government has taken action and HIV rates are slowly decreasing. An NGO in San Ignacio provides information via wall murals. Belize is the only country in the Caribbean where English is the official language.

HIV education: murals in Belize

Belize has the highest HIV prevalence in Central America and the 3rd highest in the Caribbean with more than 4,800 people living with HIV. Since 2010, the government has taken action and HIV rates are slowly decreasing. An NGO in San Ignacio provides information via wall murals. Belize is the only country in the Caribbean where English is the official language.

Targeting men as well – an example from India

The Today’s Men Think Anew campaign focused on fathers. It demanded equal rights for women and tried to raise awareness for the equality of daughters (with sons) in many aspects of everyday life, including health care. The posters were printed in both Hindi and English.

Targeting men as well – an example from India

The Today’s Men Think Anew campaign focused on fathers. It demanded equal rights for women and tried to raise awareness for the equality of daughters (with sons) in many aspects of everyday life, including health care. The posters were printed in both Hindi and English.

Pictures can be helpful when there is no shared language

Due to the Syrian Civil War, the number of refugees arriving to Europe has risen dramatically over the last couple of years. To avoid misunderstandings and wrong diagnoses, pharmacists and doctors in Germany and other countries have been outfitted with a set of pictograms showing body parts, symptoms like fever, and instructions for taking medication.
A German pharmacy magazine developed a set of pictograms in several languages that is becoming more and more popular for working with non-German speaking persons.

Pictures can be helpful when there is no shared language

Due to the Syrian Civil War, the number of refugees arriving to Europe has risen dramatically over the last couple of years. To avoid misunderstandings and wrong diagnoses, pharmacists and doctors in Germany and other countries have been outfitted with a set of pictograms showing body parts, symptoms like fever, and instructions for taking medication.
A German pharmacy magazine developed a set of pictograms in several languages that is becoming more and more popular for working with non-German speaking persons.

Pictures can be helpful when there is no shared language

Due to the Syrian Civil War, the number of refugees arriving to Europe has risen dramatically over the last couple of years. To avoid misunderstandings and wrong diagnoses, pharmacists and doctors in Germany and other countries have been outfitted with a set of pictograms showing body parts, symptoms like fever, and instructions for taking medication.
A German pharmacy magazine developed a set of pictograms in several languages that is becoming more and more popular for working with non-German speaking persons.

Pictures can be helpful when there is no shared language

Due to the Syrian Civil War, the number of refugees arriving to Europe has risen dramatically over the last couple of years. To avoid misunderstandings and wrong diagnoses, pharmacists and doctors in Germany and other countries have been outfitted with a set of pictograms showing body parts, symptoms like fever, and instructions for taking medication.
A German pharmacy magazine developed a set of pictograms in several languages that is becoming more and more popular for working with non-German speaking persons.

Pictures can be helpful when there is no shared language

Due to the Syrian Civil War, the number of refugees arriving to Europe has risen dramatically over the last couple of years. To avoid misunderstandings and wrong diagnoses, pharmacists and doctors in Germany and other countries have been outfitted with a set of pictograms showing body parts, symptoms like fever, and instructions for taking medication.
A German pharmacy magazine developed a set of pictograms in several languages that is becoming more and more popular for working with non-German speaking persons.

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