Counteracting cross-cultural calamities when creating a comic – lessons learned from a pilot study

Counteracting cross-cultural calamities when creating a comic – lessons learned from a pilot study

Author: Fredrik Brouneus – VA (Public & Science), Sweden

Co-author: Paula Alvarado – Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC)

Medicines safety is of utmost importance to public health on a global scale. Illness due to adverse reactions, use of fake or substandard medicines or incorrect use of medicines pose a considerable burden on society, both with regards to individual suffering and financial costs to the system. To promote a safer use of medicines, basic knowledge needs to be communicated – preferably at an early age to influence behavioral patterns toward medicines. To address this challenge, the Uppsala Monitoring Centre, UMC, is developing a comic book series addressing primarily tweens (10-12-year-olds). Secondary target groups include younger as well as older children/teenagers and adult members of low literacy communities. Each issue contains a feature story on a medicines safety theme, activity pages related to the theme and a final section on basic medicines safety knowledge. In 2017 a pilot issue, on falsified medicines and the concept of side-effects, was tested in a number of different cultural settings around the world, including countries such as Armenia, Jordan, Uganda and Cabo Verde. The testing was done by means of focus groups with tweens. The comic was received with enthusiasm from its readers, and attained its communication goals. Furthermore, it received crucial feedback to improve its acceptability in the different cultural contexts. Based on the results from the pilot, the first issue was recreated from scratch. In parallel a second issue, on antibiotic resistance, was developed. In 2018, in collaboration with researchers at Lund University, the effects of the comic will be explored scientifically as part of a dissertation research project. This presentation will discuss the evolution of the comic, lessons learned from the pilot testing, and challenges encountered in communicating scientific content with audiences from a diverse set of cultural settings.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Show, tell and talk
Theme: Stories
Area of interest: Comparing science communication across cultures