for Amber, Woonan and Kuna Tule For the people of the Choco region in Colombia, the COVID-19 pandemic is just one of the many threats they face. like others other indigenous communities Around the world, he saw little as a response to his government. He was effectively left to himself to make sense of this new disease spreading across the world.
For indigenous peoples it was another disease to fight without resorting to Western medicine, as well as frequent outbreaks yellow feverhandjob Malaria and tuberculosis. Indigenous people have felt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic more compared to other communities. With limited access to Western medicine to treat conditions that are completely curable, and little reliance on white people after centuries of colonial oppression, they sought their traditional treatment as their only response to the pandemic. Relied on parental medicine.
through our researchIn this article, we attempted to bridge the gap between traditional ancestral knowledge and Western understanding of epidemics by introducing strategies to reduce the risk of disease transmission while respecting local traditions.
We explored people’s perception of the coronavirus and found a . did this by employing gamification The process (using games to explore problems and find solutions) to create common ground for risk mitigation which was then explained on an illustrated poster.
One member of the team had been researching how to bridge traditional and Western medicine in the region for the past 10 years, and had already gained the trust of communities. This helped the rest of the team understand how important ancestral knowledge is to indigenous peoples and how it would affect how they saw and responded to the virus.
We had to find a way to be sensitive to their traditional beliefs, while helping them understand that there are things they can do to reduce the risk of transmission. The community had already detected the spread of the new virus in the village in the case. They noted that it didn’t have much effect on the children, but it did make them think the virus might have been circulating a meter above the ground.
They also believed that the virus was caused by humans as they live in nature, and if it had originated from bats, they would have already encountered it. They observed that older people were disproportionately affected, concluding that the virus was specifically designed to destroy ancestral knowledge that older people have.
We wanted to reconcile the two ideas, rather than confront their beliefs. In the poster we suggested that the virus originated in an animal market where animals were not stored safely, while also emphasizing that the whole world has been affected by the pandemic.
These communities had developed their own methods which they believed would protect them. Local spiritual leaders and herbalists believed that the virus would not stick to bitter blood. So he advised drinking herbal tea with lemon, ginger and elderflower and taking bath with the leaves. gliricidia tree. They also developed ritual ceremonies during which spiritual leaders spit on people, believing it to provide protection from the virus.
mitigating COVID-19 risk
It was important that any imagery used on the poster reflected and represented the indigenous people. Things like hand-washing with tap water had to be adapted to the local context to bring water from the river in plastic containers to the communities. Local practices such as drinking herbal tea were to be respected, and only practices that were potentially harmful (such as spitting during the ceremony) were to be addressed subtly without offense or confrontation.
The COVID-19 posters were translated into six indigenous languages and placed in communal areas. Community members showed more trust and interest in the information on the poster, as opposed to their attitude towards the material received earlier. The posters recreated their local and domestic lives, showing everyday scenes and objects rather than the standardized Western-looking figures and references typically seen in infographics. Seeing himself in the poster helped him connect with it.
Within the poster we created a puzzle with hidden local animals, a kind of local choco version where’s Wally?. Children were the first to engage with the animals and spend long hours in front of posters trying to locate them. Soon adults would join them and start a discussion about what the poster was communicating. The puzzle engaged adults indirectly through the initial enthusiasm of the children, and so both groups paid more attention to the information on the poster.
medical part of the team ran seroprevalence survey, which uses antibody tests to estimate the percentage of the population with COVID-19 antibodies. Interviews with the community and the results of this rapid test were used to evaluate the strategy’s effectiveness during our limited stay, when we observed changes in behavior. of 148 people participatedOf these, 73% reported that they had experienced at least one COVID-19 symptom. Of the 19 people who had clinical symptoms at the time of the survey, eight tested positive.
During our time with the community we noticed that initially, for example, teenagers were quite carefree, but after testing positive they started self-isolating and followed the advice on community posters. In many villages, people appreciated the message written in their own language, which reflected their environment and made them more attentive to the poster. In some villages mothers asked for copies to teach the children in their native language.
It may seem unusual to use such a playful approach among indigenous communities, but they are using games Share your knowledge and traditions for generations.
Sensitive and careful attention to the lives and culture of indigenous peoples with elements of simplification has helped us successfully develop a common understanding about COVID-19, and it can help spread health messages to other parts of the world. can. But one size does not fit all, and using simplification principles can help make health initiatives relevant, relatable and inclusive.
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