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Comedy informs City kids about dengue fever

Update: May, 08/2014 - 10:08
Biting humour: A scene from The Tiny Enemies comic play performed at the Institute of Cultural Exchange with France in HCM City on April 29 for teachers and staff of 21 primary schools where the play will be staged to educate children about dengue fever. — VNS Photo Gia Loc

by Gia Loc

HCM CITY (VNS) — Knowledge of how dengue fever spreads and key behaviours to prevent it will be disseminated in an appealing manner through a play to be staged at 21 primary schools in two HCM City districts this month.

Districts 8 and Binh Chanh, where the plays will be performed from May 15 to 29, suffer from a high incidence of dengue.

The play by Tiny Enemies theatre group is about Viet who lives in HCM City and is bitten by aedes mosquitoes and gets dengue fever when she visits her hometown.

Delirious with high fever, she dreams that she fights an aedes queen mosquito together with the White Blouse Fairy and the Electric Racket Superman. In the end they destroy the mosquito and its young by clearing out water containers in which mosquito larvae live and develop.

The funny lines the mosquitoes in white, green, blue, and black and the main heroes speak left the audience guffawing during a performance at the Institute of Cultural Exchange with France, or IDECAF, in District 1 on April 29.

It was staged for the teachers and staff of the 21 schools to provide their opinions.

Dang Thi Bao Tran, a teacher at Rach Ong Primary School in District 8, said her students would like the play very much.

The lively nature of the play would enable them to understand the disease more easily, she said.

Nguyen Quang Vinh, head of the primary education division at the city Department of Education and Training, said primary schools should consider plays like this as an entertaining outdoor activity to supplement what kids learn in classrooms to protect themselves.

The children would tell about the play to their parents, thus spreading the knowledge, he added.

Each show will last around 45 minutes, with the play taking 30 minutes and the remaining time devoted to a game show, an interaction with the audience, and a quiz on mosquitoes, how dengue fever spreads and can be prevented and treated.

Mary Chambers, director of training and public engagement with science at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), said the play is to help children make a difference by reducing mosquito breeding sites.

It is one of the initiatives that bring science to the forefront of people's minds in an engaging and entertaining way under the Science Theatre Programme started in 2010, she added.

The programme is being carried out by the OUCRU in co-operation with Thai Duong Theatre Company and sponsored by Wellcome Trust and Sanofi Espoir Foundation.

Its first play, An Amazing Battle, was about typhoid, food hygiene, and antibiotic resistance, and was performed at 91 schools and shelters in HCM City and the neighbouring provinces of Long An, Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Vinh Long between 2010 and 2013.

Tran Lam Lan Huong, head of the Department of Health's Health Education and Communication Centre, said that health science education and communication through dramas is a creative approach to improve the effectiveness of dissemination of health knowledge and change community behaviour more effectively.

More than 60,000 cases of dengue fever are reported in the southern region each year, with children accounting for nearly 65 per cent of the cases. — VNS


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