Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - BBC drama aims to educate

BBC drama aims to educate

BBC drama aims to educate

The Village Nurse's Charms employs a compelling love story to provide

viewers with useful tips on how to prevent malaria in Cambodia's rural

areas

Photo by:

Photo Supplied

Scenes from the film The Village Nurse’s Charms.

THE BBC World Service Trust released a 30-minute drama last week called The Village Nurse's Charms, which is aimed at educating Cambodians on how to better protect themselves against malaria.

In the short film, Samphors - a beautiful young nurse - returns to her village and finds herself caught in a love triangle between an ice cream salesman-malaria health volunteer and a handsome young actor. In order to compete for the love of Samphors, the smitten health volunteer will need to prove himself worthy. And, surely, his knowledge of malaria prevention will come in handy.

Entertaining education

"[The film] is very entertaining. It's important to create characters that people can relate to. It's not too dry and technical," said Vanessa Johanson, head of the project.

The film is part of a two-year project by the BBC World Service Trust that started in early 2008 and includes TV and radio spots aimed at educating Cambodians about malaria prevention.

Though none of the malaria-specific TV spots have run yet, prior BBC World Service projects designed to raise awareness about HIV and human trafficking have been deemed successful, according to Johanson.

One reason for Johanson's optimism about the project is the incorporation of audience research that has allowed the project to target specific knowledge gaps in malaria prevention.

"Our research has shown that there was a high usage of bed nets but not a high usage of treated bed nets, which are much more effective, and that's just one example," she said.

The film also focuses on teaching Cambodians that pregnant women and young children have low immunity to the disease and about the importance of taking a full course of unexpired medicines while avoiding dangerous cocktails of drugs.

Johanson said she hopes the film's theme song, "The Malaria Song", will prove to be a useful vehicle for education.

[the film] is very entertaining ... it’s not dry and technical.

Spreading the message

The film will be broadcast nationally seven times on TV5 and Bayon TV from March to May next year, just as Cambodia moves towards the wet season when anti-malarial measures are particularly important.
The film will also be distributed heavily in a workshop environment in Pailin, Battambang and Preah Vihear - provinces with high malaria rates - through provincial village health workers from the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control.

Johanson expects people to learn how to take steps to prevent malaria while at the same time thoroughly enjoying the first-of-its-kind film.

"To my knowledge, there has never been a drama focused on fighting malaria before, so this is a very exciting time," she said.

Malaria is found throughout Cambodia, except in Phnom Penh and Tonle Sap lake region, experts say.

About 262,000 Cambodians are diagnosed with malaria each year, according to 2006 statistics from the World Health Organisation. Pregnant women, small children and men who work in the forests are particularly at risk.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National