Tuberculosis (TB) is a major problem in East Kwaio. The TB team in the Atoifi Heath Research Group is directly addressing this problem by using innovative new ways to engage local communities in a conversation about reducing TB in the area. A part of this response is the production of locally made videos about TB.
In 2013, the TB team wrote, directed, acted and produced a series of video clips about TB in local Kwaio language. TB workers, Kwaio chiefs and community leaders all came together in the project. The video clips helped people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of TB, how to get tested for TB and how to get treated for TB. These video clips were then shown in 41 villages and hamlets.
TB workers gave out 255 questionnaires to evaluate the video clips. One of the main ideas that came out of the questionnaire was that people believed TB was a result of geegelema (sorcery). In response to this the Australian Respiratory Council funded a follow-up project to support further work on TB.
A second set of video clips are currently being filmed in response to these local beliefs. The TB team are engaging with the following ideas:
1. While respecting local beliefs about the role of geegelema, explain TB is transmitted by a bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis)
2. It is vital that hospital medicine be taken every day to the end of the 6 month treatment course
3. Family members, church leaders and chiefs need to support a person living with TB, as this will increase their chance for healing
4. Traditional medicine and prayer is OK, but a person living with TB must take their Hospital medicine every day too
Central to all of this work is the Kwaio model of wellbeing – To`orule`anga . This approach is culturally consistent with three key components:
1. Wado (land)- life is sustained by land for growing gardens, producing materials for building, plants for medicine and habitat for animals
2. Falafala (custom/tradition)- this describes important ways of doing things in the local area
3. Fuufutanga (Genealogy)- this describes social connectedness to the past, people in the present and future generations
By centralizing Kwaio ways of understanding health and balancing this with outside ways, leaders are working to reduce the amount of TB in their communities. The second series of video clips is expected to be completed and distributed by the end of 2014.
To watch the first set of TB video clips produced at Atoifi, see: http://www.atoifiresearch.org.sb/videos
For more information about these projects, please contact: Chief Esau Kekeubata firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr Peter Massey Peter.Massey@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au
Pictures: Scenes from filming the current TV video clips