As William Glasser, an American psychiatric said, ‘If you want to change attitudes, start with a change in behavior.’ Mentioning the quote is important here in the 21st century just not because we are lagging behind the global physical advancements but also towards our attitudes greatly affecting our way of life and yes, health.
Different traditional myths, creeds, norms, culture, practices and beliefs have always been affecting the way we treat our lives. Traditional healers and witchdoctors are still categorized under health service providing workforce and people of rural society still take their patients to witchdoctors for treatment. Their preferences of medical health cadres come second. Here, the behavior change is most crucial but is not easy.
Different government line agencies, donor agencies, I/NGOs, CBOs have been developing IEC (Information, Education and Communication) materials such as poster, sunboards, magazines, flip charts, flash cards, newsletters, billboards, leaflets, pamphlets, game boards, with an objective of changing people’s behavior for improving their health status because aforesaid, change in behavior is important for ensuring better health condition.
Many organizations have promoted safe sexual behaviors to prevent people from HIV and AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases through IEC materials. Others have promoted issues related to safe motherhood to decrease maternal mortality. Awareness through these kinds of paper media have grew in number for creating awareness against child marriage, human trafficking, proper nutrition, gender-based violence and other ill practices. Similarly, appropriate actions for fighting against HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, STIs, have been promoted through mediums. Nevertheless, the materials produced so far have been proven inadequate during a consolation meeting organized by UNICEF at Everest Hotel under the leadership of National Planning Commission.
Explaining the objectives of the youthful and colorful workshop as defined, Nafisa Shafique, Chief, Adolescent Development and Participation at UNICEF said, ‘thousands of behavior change communication tools like IEC materials have been produced so far but now, it is the time to ponder upon its limitations and I believe that this workshop will make a difference by putting the human resources and the expertise knowledge together to discover rooms of improvement for better development of such materials in the future.’
The workshop included the display of IEC materials produced by different government line agencies, donor agencies, I/NGOs, CBOs and discussion on the same to find out the areas for improvement to make the reading materials more understanding and accessible to highest population. Every organization displayed their IEC materials and talked on its objectives, strength, steps of production and limitations. Among all the limitations, the inadequate materials for differently challenged population were discovered and the immediate production of such materials for them is felt urgent.
Different government line agencies, donor agencies, I/NGOs, CBOs have been developing IEC but are not friendly to differently-able population. The materials such as poster, sunboards, magazines, flip charts, flash cards, newsletters, billboards, leaflets, pamphlets, game boards, and radio programs are effective only for people who can see or hear but what for one who is visibly impaired or hearing impaired? Only academic course books printed in Braille is not enough. Behavior change communication tools like these are important for them as well in order to achieve 100% population target and the government along with other line agencies should prioritize this as urgent agenda.