Health experts in India have come up with a new way of delivering health education – through a Bollywood TV soap opera.
ENTERTAIN & EDUCATE:
To encourage people to use toilets, for example, producers have dramatised a story where a woman refused to marry her man until he builds her an indoor toilet.
The series has a huge influence in India, attracting more than 145 million viewers. It is one of the most watched prime time shows in India.
But the aim of this soap opera is not just to entertain. Produced in partnership with UNICEF, its purpose is to change attitudes about social and health issues, especially among its poor and illiterate viewers.
Getting the ratio of entertainment and education right was not always easy for the creative team.
The Creative Director, Umesh, has the job of steering the cast and crew through tricky storylines such as maternal health, HIV, immunisation and…. the use of constructed toilets.
It was this difficult topic that lead him to the idea of a bride refusing to marry until her husband built her an indoor convenience.
We also attended a star-studded event in Delhi which celebrated five hundred and one episodes and the end of the show’s run.