Antimicrobial resistance — the phenomenon by which previously effective medicines can no longer beat microbes including bacteria — is a threat globally. In Ghana, misuse and abuse of antibiotics is rampant in part because people can easily obtain them in drugstores without prescription.
The two-year, Wellcome Trust-funded pilot project in Ghana that began in August 2016 used storytelling (in one school) and picture drawing (in another school) to engage school children of age 12-15 years old and their parents with antimicrobial resistance.
The project involved the following:
- Engaging science teachers to identify needs and assets for equipping them to teach storytelling and picture drawing lessons with school children.
- Science teachers providing lessons on antibiotics use, misuse and antimicrobial resistance to schoolchildren
- A cartoonist/storyteller engaging children with picture drawing and storytelling techniques on antimicrobial resistance
- A competition for 20 children in each school to select top 5 stories and top 5 pictures
- Creating an animation from the top stories and pictures, and
- Showcasing the animation to parents, children and teachers to spark discussions.
The project is unique and innovative because of its combination of storytelling, picture drawing and animation to tackle antimicrobial resistance in a low-resource setting.
More information about
Bernard Appiah, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University School of Public Health
Bernard Appiah wears many hats; he is a pharmacist, science journalist, global health scholar, public engagement specialist, and science communication scholar and practitioner. He is Assistant Professor at the Texas A&M University (TAMU) School of Public Health, founding director of TAMU’s Research Programme on Public and International Engagement for Health and founding director of the Centre for Science and Health Communication in Ghana. He serves on the steering committee of the Pan-African Network for the Popularisation of Science and Technology and Science Communication (Africa Gong) as head of capacity building and research programmes. A son of a gong-gong beater or “town crier” in rural Ghana, his main research interest is using communication and public engagement approaches to address global health challenges including antimicrobial resistance, childhood vaccination, drug safety, medication adherence and blood donation. His book, “Medicines: Using Them Safely” uses storytelling and cartoons to engage readers. He has won several awards or grants including Ghana’s first Young Pharmacist of the Year Award, Wellcome Trust’s International Engagement Award, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations Innovator seed grant and Grand Challenges Canada’s Stars in Global Health innovator seed grant.