Using drama to fight malaria in rural Cambodia

Village Drama_1

Last week, the Village Drama Against Malaria initiative held its first performance in O Treng (Reed River), a remote rural Cambodian village that suffers from malaria. Over 200 people, more than half the village, attended the performance, which featured five village singers and primary school kids dressed as mosquitoes singing a song about malaria (photo above).

Funded by MORU Head of Bioethics and Engagement Phaik Yeong Cheah’s Wellcome Trust Provision for Public Engagement award, Village Drama Against Malaria uses Cambodian drama, art, music workshops and village concerts to mobilize rural communities to eliminate malaria.

Village drama

Organised by Ma Sareth, MORU community engagement team, and Dr Chan Davoeung, head of malaria in Battambang province, with support from MORU Cambodia Targeted Malaria Elimination (TME) team members Rupam Tripuram and Tom Peto, Village Drama Against Malaria will run for about three months and involve approximately 20 villages, targeting those with the most malaria in Battambang province.

The initiative will begin with six villages where MORU is running the TME study. A local drama group works with the local health department to create scripts relevant to the villages, which are at risk of malaria in the forests. Prior to each performance, a two-day workshop is held at the school with village youths to gather local stories about malaria and get local people to perform on stage. All villagers and local authorities are invited on the third day for a performance with music, karaoke, short health talks, games, and drama.

Visit the Village Drama Against Malaria Facebook page to keep up on performances. The page will be translated into Khmer the first week of July. From 1 July a drone will be used to get flying footage and to simulate a mosquito coming out of the forest.