iHeed, the Irish healthcare organization, provides world-class medical education. One of its programs is mHealth, a mobile phone platform for films made specifically for developing countries.

One of the primary barriers to improving health outcomes in developing nations is the shortage of trained healthcare workers. One solution is to train community health workers who can take on some duties traditionally performed by doctors and nurses at a much lower cost and who require less training. In many cases, these community health workers have lower rates of attrition.

Buzzco created two training videos for iHeed. The first, Two Simple Ways to Treat Water, is a how-to film, illustrating easy ways to filter water without expensive equipment or chlorine, using only a piece of cloth, clear bottles and sunshine.

iHeed was so delighted with our Two Simple Ways to Treat Water that they asked us to do another film. We created Family Planning is a Human Right because one goal of iHeed is to help women in developing countries prevent unintended pregnancies. Their focus is on women who have no control over family planning, women who are overwhelmed with large families, women whose partners would never consider using condoms or tolerate any visible form of birth control, and women who are at risk of rape. Depo Provera, the birth control medication this film profiles, is an injection given four times a year with no device visible and is completely reversible – designed for young girls not ready to have a baby or women who are struggling to care for the children they already have.

While I was at the 2012 Annecy International Animation Festival presenting “The Last Time”, I was approached by Dr. Tom O’Callaghan to help with his Irish charity, iHeed. In their mHealth initiative they were making health videos for developing countries.

I immediately saw the brilliance of this idea—how to help health workers instruct underserved communities about health care by showing them films on their PDA’s. Video is a much better format than printed pamphlets which can be challenging for anyone. In addition, these films can easily be translated into local languages and, through motion, can visually demonstrate techniques in hygiene and other healthy practices.

We made 2 films. I was attracted to the first, Two Simple Ways to Treat Water, because dirty water is the number one cause of typhoid and cholera. These water filtration steps can be done without expensive equipment or chlorine—with only a piece of cloth, clear bottles and sunshine.

The second film, Family Planning is a Human Right, presented an unusual challenge. Because this film was intended for villagers living in remote areas, there was no set of symbols for numbers, no set names for weeks or days. Because the schedule for birth control injections relied on specific time frames to be effective, I needed a shorthand to show a “month.” I thought of the moon. Showing the phases of the moon got the concept across with no translation needed. I was delighted to be able to offer women around the world a way to have control over their bodies and reproductive choices.



2012 Pixie Award


Created and produced by
© Buzzco Associates, inc. New York City USA (www.buZZZco.com)
Designed, directed and written by Candy Kugel
Animated by Rick Broas
Music by Lanny Meyers
Produced by Marilyn Kraemer

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