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Beyond COVID launched by Assam Health Minister

Guwahati: 17 June, 2021

Assam Health Minister Sh Keshab Mahanta formally launched “BEYOND COVID” a multimedia document on new normal for urban population prepared by Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust with support from UNICEF Assam and in collaboration with DHS & NHM, Govt of Assam

Dr. Anamika Ray Memorial Trust (ARMT) is glad to bring into light the good and bad behaviours of people during this pandemic through the production of a multimedia interactive document, especially for urban populated region – ‘Beyond COVID – New Normal for Urban Population’ with support from UNICEF Assam and in collaboration with National Health Mission and Directorate of Health Services, Govt. of Assam.

This 30-page document accounts for two behaviour sets in the context of COVID affected urban environment - the bad behaviour, which we termed as ‘Covidiot’ and compared it to the good behaviour, which we termed as ‘Covideal’. To be more precise, this document explains the bad behaviour of ‘Covidiot’, as an antagonist who endangers himself as well as others and thereby suffers the consequences, which is in sharp contrast to the good behaviour of ‘Covideal’ which is a model of intelligent response, watchfulness and civic responsibility during the pandemic.

Covidiot (pronounced ‘Cov – idiot’) is visualized as unthinking, undisciplined, irresponsible, reckless, self-indulgent, contemptuous of others’ safety and scornful of scientific temper.

On the other hand, Covideal (pronounced ‘Cov – ideal’) is visualized as curious about the pandemic and the science behind it, ready to apply his/her mind to overcome the challenge, disciplined and willing to make necessary sacrifices. He/she follows relevant health advisories/guidelines, adopts good practices, takes precautions and makes the needed behavioural adjustments.

The entire document is a demonstration of cartoon characters, their roles and activities comically explaining the science behind COVID-19 in the most simple, interesting and possible way to engage the urban population and espouse them for several behavioral changes for survival during and after COVID-19.

These behavioural changes are the ‘New Normal’ which has the only strength to build resilience among the people during and after the pandemic.

This work is based on an empirical research work done by Dr. Anamika Ray Memorial Trust. Before the preparation of this document, the Trust has undertaken a formative research and developed about 50 Message Matrix on bad behaviour and its consequences and good behaviour and its benefit. Before finalizing the document, a pilot study was also conducted among randomly selected individuals belonging to different parts of the city – Guwahati.

In the final consideration, 15 messages were selected to represent the most appropriate behaviours (as well as their opposites) in the urban population during COVID-19, depending on which cartoons were prepared to engage readers and drive home visually the need to make behavioural changes. This is a first of its kind document on the concept of ‘Communication for Social and Behavioural Change (SBCC)’ targeted at the urban population in the context of COVID-19.

This is the fourth multimedia interactive document that ARMT has produced during COVID-19; out of which, ‘COVID Katha’ has become the national document, while others include ‘Break the Fake Toons’ and ‘MOTIVATION’ gaining popularity for shunning the rise of infodemics during COVID-19 and for its effort to inspire three crore higher education students of the country during pandemic respectively. In collaboration with UNICEF Assam, The Trust published “Kiting High” a comic story book for children on their new normal and also produced three puppetry shows on COVID appropriate behaviour.

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Access to latest development to contain the pandemic would be helpful.

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