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Street dramas for health

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By Jacqueline Ma, HealthBridge Foundation of Canada intern

Street dramas are performances presented in outdoor public spaces that offer much more than entertainment!

Street dramas are a creative tool to raise awareness about pressing health and social issues facing communities in Nepal. Given their entertaining nature, street dramas provide a safe environment to discuss sensitive topics concerning maternal, newborn and child health. Street dramas are also very mobile—they can be done in any open space—and so are a great way to engage community members in rural and hard to reach communities.

Street dramas are often created and performed by youth. This gives youth an opportunity to take a leadership role in their community. The dramas are also used to talk about and promote gender equality. They provide a platform to show how men can promote gender equality at home and at work. For example, some dramas include acts on how men can improve maternal health by cooking nutritious food for their partner and accompanying her to her healthcare appointments.

HealthBridge is collaborating with child and youth clubs in Nepal to facilitate the performance of street dramas. During the first year of the Saving lives of women and children in Nepal and Vietnam project, child and youth clubs performed 37 street dramas that were viewed by more than 3000 people! The events took place in public spaces in hard to reach communities and were performed in local languages so that all community members could enjoy and understand the dramas.

The street dramas highlight 9 key messages to improve maternal, newborn and child health:

  • Impacts of early marriage and gender discrimination on maternal and child health
  • Meaning, impact, and benefits of family planning
  • Importance of four Antenatal Care visits
  • Benefits and importance of birth spacing and immunization
  • Nutritious diet during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period
  • Exclusive breast feeding duration and its benefits
  • Accessing health services and facilities
  • Gender equality and male engagement to improve female health
  • Danger signs and symptoms during pregnancy, postnatal and newborn.

HealthBridge is supporting street dramas in Nepal as part of the Saving lives of mothers and children in Nepal and Vietnam project.