tve’s new films about hepatitis are helping to drive vaccination campaigns among migrant workers in Delhi, some of the most vulnerable people in India.
Starting in August, the Rann Bhoomi Foundation will be screening tve’s films to about 1000 people from eight villages around Nagod town of Satna district in Madhya Pradesh, central India. After its volunteers viewed tve’s powerful and compelling films, the foundation decided to screen them to migrant workers who live largely outside any social network and are likely to have little or no information about Hepatitis B, even if they themselves are infected.
About 40 million people in India are infected with Hep B, and an estimated million children born every year run a life-time risk of developing chronic Hep B. Yet few people know how to prevent or treat the virus, and there is no national comprehensive hepatitis policy. The Rann Bhoomi Foundation carries out innovative education and vaccination campaigns in communities most at risk.
‘It is hugely rewarding to see our films reach the poorest communities,’ said Anshul Ojha, project manager of tve South Asia’s Taking Hepatitis Science to Communities through Film,’ funded by Wellcome. ‘At tve, we know that films can show people why and how they can change their behaviour. Films can literally help save lives.’
Rann Bhoomi Foundation founder and president Surender Kumar, himself Hep B-positive, said: ‘After discovering I was positive, I decided to help people fight against it and create awareness among communities where information about viruses and diseases is non-existent.’
Last month, the foundation vaccinated 60 children in a south-west Delhi slum, home to migrant families largely outside any safety net.
‘With more people and organisations joining hands, the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030 is increasingly in sight,’ said Anshul Ojha. ‘Our partnership with the Rann Bhoomi Foundation spurs us on to expand our public health project, so we can reach more people and stop Hep B.’
Vaccinating for a Hep Free India. Parthasarthi/New Delhi India/tve 2017