When the WHO (World Health Organization) Director-General declared COVID-19 a pandemic at the media briefing on 11 March 2020, he expressed deep concern for both the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.
He also remarked that the crisis will touch every sector and that every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight, adding that several countries have demonstrated that the virus can be suppressed and controlled.
The reality is that many countries are not doing enough! They could be struggling with issues like lack of capacity, lack of resources or lack of resolve.
If countries become bogged down by too many problems, what then can the common people do?
The remarks by WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director that “the real issue is to empower our communities to take action to protect themselves, to give them things to do and that there are things that every single human being on this planet can do to protect themselves from this disease.” becomes pertinent here.
For the common people, the keyword here is prevention. And this involves the whole community of people to make it work. There are some proven practices that can help prevent the spread of contagious airborne diseases. But very often, people forget or ignore these practices and the whole community suffers.
People can be empowered to do something. People can follow certain preventive measures to make it work. However, it’s not easy to get everybody to follow disease prevention rules.
Previously, it was alright, but when a pandemic strikes, these preventive measures become a necessity.
Contagious airborne disease preventive measures look fine when listed on paper. But do people really follow them? Many people don’t!
Why is that so? People forget? Not aware or ignorant? Complacent? Not used to adopting preventive measures?
Somehow, people need to get it into their subconscious mind to want to follow them so that they become a habit. How do you drive the message through?
Researchers have found that people remember 50% more in what they see than in what they hear. Visuals get people’s attention. The many images on billboards, magazines, newspapers or even on the internet are testimonies that advertising visuals are so effective.
Cartoon graphics can be effectively used to instill the best practices for preventing the spread of airborne diseases into their minds because they can be attention grabbing, colorful and humorous.
When seen repeatedly over and over again, posters of these preventive messages can become good habits.
With good habits, the community benefits. Controlling airborne contagious diseases then becomes everyone’s effort and responsibility.
Where then can you find such posters that are both cheap and good? The easiest way out is the “DIY” approach – print them yourself. A good computer color printer is all that is ever needed.