A health worker in Bundi district, who himself is in isolation with coronavirus, has developed a cartoon character called 'Shayana Kaka' (wise uncle) to bring home the message of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and guidelines in the local dialect.
In one such cartoon, the character says: "Bimari ko naa chipaao, survey karri ASHA behen na jarur apnaa lakshan bato, haspatal su dava lo" (Don't hide the disease, inform the symptoms to ASHA worker during the survey, take the medicine from a hospital).
"It is really satisfying that the 'Shayana Kaka' cartoon series on COVID-19 is proving effective in rural areas", said Sunil Jangid, the artist behind the cartoon series and also a block supervisor at a community health centre in Hindoli town.
The series is being spread on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter to officials and workers in rural areas, who then send it to other local groups, Bundi Zila Parishad Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Murlidhar Pratihar said.
Concerned over the increasing spread of the virus in rural areas, the zila parishad official brought in Jangid to incorporate the guidelines in the local dialect through the cartoon character.
Though Jangid tested positive for the virus on May 5 and was in home isolation under treatment, he started working on the CEO''s idea and has so far developed more than 10 short cartoon episodes with each one depicting "Shayana Kaka" delivering awareness message on COVID-19.
Pratihar claimed that more people in the rural areas of the district are now understanding the significance of embracing COVID-19 guidelines and the daily caseload in the district has gone down in the last two days.
The district rural development and Panchayati raj department has incorporated awareness generation on COVID-19 into its Swachh Bharat Mission campaign and the local cartoon character 'Shayana Kaka' is one such tool to help spread the message, Pratihar said.
"The cartoon series has certainly built up an environment in favour of embracing COVID guidelines against the pandemic," said Satyaprakesh Sharma, sarpanch of Bansi gram panchayat in Hindoli block of Bundi district.
He claimed that only 4-5 positive cases have been detected so far among the population of around 5,500 in Bansi village.
Sharma said he receives an awareness message of 'Shayana Kaka' series on his WhatsApp and Facebook accounts that he later shares with all groups in the village.