We organised two screenings in Mumbai, in partnership with the Hamara Foundation, a charity which provides education and a healthy environment for children in poor communities. Our audiences included former street children and slumdwellers, teachers and trainers. We translated English and Hindi into Marathi.
Of those taking our survey before viewing the films, not a single person knew that hepatitis affects the liver, nor its cause. No one had been vaccinated, and only 5% had been tested. Equally concerning was the fact that almost no one had seen information about hepatitis in the media or in their local hospital or clinic.
The response from seeing our films was dramatic:
- all those taking our survey said they would be tested for hepatitis if they showed symptoms
- 68% now knew that vaccination at birth could prevent hepatitis B
- 90% said they would get their children vaccinated
- 95% thought it was possible for people being treated for hepatitis B to lead a normal life
- all found the films informative.
‘Now I will go and tell all my friends about this disease.’
- Priya Kamble, 13, student
We also held two screenings in Lucknow, at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University and at Gautam Buddha college. A third screening was later held by the student filmmakers themselves, at Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti Urdu, Arbi-Farsi University.
Unlike our Mumbai audiences, our Lucknow audiences included people from NGOs, medical professionals, college and secondary school students and journalists. But even with this highly educated group, knowledge of hepatitis before our films was poor:
- 39.6% said hepatitis A leads to hepatitis B which then leads to hepatitis C
- Over a quarter believed that traditional healers could cure hepatitis.
As in Mumbai, we saw dramatic change. The number of people who would seek treatment from a traditional healer plummeted; nearly 85% said they would have their child vaccinated; nearly all believed that people with hepatitis C, if treated, could live a normal life. Almost everyone would recommend the films to friends and family.
‘The message of our film is full of hope. It highlights the thought that once the individual takes the step of getting tested, which is perhaps the most important step in mitigating the spread of the disease, there is a very high chance of a complete cure.
‘Our respondents spoke to us about the courage required to live with hepatitis, especially before it is treated. One of them pointed out to us that our short films aim to reflect the countless years he had spent with the disease. The realisation that we had to be extremely sensitive to those with lived experience hit us hardest at that juncture.’
- Aditi Saraswat, student filmmaker
We had hundreds of thousands of online views, mainly from viewers in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, through our own social media and the World Hepatitis Alliance YouTube channel and Facebook page.
We also livestreamed the first public screening of the films and the panel discussion in Lucknow.