What India can learn from Africa’s fight against Ebola, via a health summit in Sweden

Monday, October 23, 2017

Did you know that talking about ‘goat plague’ did more to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa than all the public service messages about not eating infected monkeys and bats?

While science and data must drive global health policies, making the messages relatable is equally vital.

India, which is facing its own communication challenges when dealing with both infectious and chronic health threats, needs lessons in cultural contextualization.

Well-meaning public health communicators, for example, should stop using the phrase ‘kangaroo care’ when teaching women in rural India how to hold newborns to their chests to warm them and reduce risk of newborn death, because most women in remote areas have never even heard of the kangaroo and cannot possibly understand its relevance to childcare. Instead, experts say, using a monkey as a metaphor would work far better in this context.

Photo courtesy of Ray Witlin.

Source: Hindustan Times (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, public health, vaccines