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Community engagement and health education, activities from India 

Video about community health education with current examples from endemic parts in India and interview with Dr Vikas Aggarwal.
VIKAS AGGARWAL: Community engagement, making communities aware of kala-azar and its symptom is one of the most important components of kala-azar elimination programme. Whenever we interact with communities, first of all, we have to ask the communities what they know already on kala-azar. Kala-azar is not a disease such as HIV/AIDS. Kala-azar is not a disease like leprosy, which has such a high social taboo. Kala-azar doesn’t have– fortunately – doesn’t have any social taboo attached to it. So communities will talk freely about kala-azar.
VIKAS AGGARWAL: Ultimately it’s the disease which affects the communities. So what our efforts should lead to so communities reach the health care services at the right time and at the right place. Which is the main factor why still the burden of disease is so high, because a lot of time is wasted on seeking health care by a community member or a patient from various practitioners where the diagnosis is inappropriate or if treatment is not specific to kala-azar and that leads to high burden– economic burden on the relevant patient. So it’s very essential for us to ensure that patient reaches the health care services at the right time and at the right place.
All the efforts which we are making on kala-azar may go to waste if communities are not accepting and communities are not behaving in the manner which we want them to do.
VIKAS AGGARWAL: So the message which I would like to give to a health care practitioner on community engagement is that number one, select your community, number two, select your message, number three, be very specific.

Following Step 4.10, we will now look at community health education with examples from current IEC/BCC in India, particularly in the highly endemic state of Bihar. In this step, Dr Vikas Aggarwal (KalaCORE Regional Director for Asia) talks about the role of community health education and targeted messaging for VL control.

In this video, you will identify several ways that the community is approached and engaged, via education and discussion or by signposts and posters. We suggest that you also have a look at the IEC/BCC film that was produced as part of communication on VL control/kala-azar and used in Bihar. You can follow the link to watch and read more

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Control and Elimination of Visceral Leishmaniasis

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