BBC Media Action has launched Pari, a.k.a Diarrhoea Doll, an educational tool to be used at Village Health and Sanitations Days (VHSNDs) in Bihar. BBC Media Action is implementing a 5 year behaviour change communication program to improve maternal and child health under the Ananya Initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Worldwide, diarrhoea kills 2,195 children every day. In order to spread awareness about the lethal effects of the disease and to help prevent it, Pari the Diarrhoea Doll was launched in 100 Village Health & Nutrition Centres in Bihar in July 2015 and has immediately been scaled upto 600 Primary Health Centres across Bihar in August 2015.
She is an inflatable doll that can expand and contract when fluids are filled or released. She educates parents in rural areas about diarrhoea. To demonstrate how it works, the health worker fills up Pari with water using the top inlet. The doll swells up to look like a healthy child. The health workers explain that this is how a child is before diarrhoea but then opens the outlet at the bottom and the water starts to drain slowly, making Pari contract. This is followed by other demos that show measures to prevent this.
Pari’s doll’s house, the Diarrhoea Kit consists of a 1 litre bottle, a glass, a spoon and some ORS and zinc sachets.
Soma Katiyar, Creative Director, BBC Media Action: "Creating Pari required design decisions that ranged from choice of materials, inlet-outlet methods, controlling rate of fluid flow, shape, packaging and how it would all affect the optics of the demo”.
Siddhartha Swarup, Director Family Health Projects, BBC Media Action: “The insight was dehydration is an unseen, not understood problem. We wanted to bring alive a scientific fact through a vivid demonstration. The simple demonstration of dehydration, creates a ‘eureka moment’ for women, transforming ORS into a ‘must have-must use’ commodity. Observations have revealed that several women ask for sachets of ORS and/or zinc right after the demonstration”.
Health workers are finding it useful too. As Bibha Kumari, a health worker from Darbhanga said; “I was very happy to see this kit…with Pari we’re easily able to explain the concept of dehydration…now women in my area will be able to handle diarrhoea at home and treat their children.”