Photo exhibit artfully melds social mobilization and health promotion
By Luc Gaudet, SABC Expert at One Drop, and Emmanuel Koama, SABC Coordinator for the Saniya So+
There are many potential sources of infection in health care centres: pathogens can be transmitted by patients‘ and health care workers’ hands, the various surfaces used for medical procedures, latrines, and so on.
Access to WASH services and information alone is not enough to shift human behaviour; individuals must be convinced that they have a vital role to play, and they require frequent reminders to stay motivated and keep up the behaviours that protect themselves and others from disease.
As part of the Saniya So+ Project in Burkina Faso, the team from Espace Culturel Gambidi chose photography as the artistic medium to reframe their collective commitment to keeping health care facilities safe.
"The portraits showcase the actions of health care workers, as well as their team spirit, to promote behaviours that help prevent the spread of COVID-19."
Photo credit: Espace Culturel Gambidi (2020)
Health care facility staff members were invited to demonstrate how they meet these challenges together, while cameras captured moments in portrait form. Mariam, one of the participants and the person in charge of maintaining clean surfaces, tells us about her experience: “At first, I didn’t really understand the logic behind the activity. But once it was explained to me, I really enjoyed it, especially since my colleagues were also very involved, including the manager of our health and social promotion centre (CSPS).”
Increased international awareness has put a spotlight on the importance cleaners play in keeping health care facilities safe. As Mariam puts it: “I hope that the patients who come to the centre will feel inspired by these photos, because they really are meaningful. I also hope that people will feel encouraged to wash their hands with soap. That would make me feel like I’m making a real difference, since in addition to cleaning, I’m the one who refills the handwashing stations, just like you see in the photo. [...] With improved awareness in the community, people may make more of an effort to keep things clean, which would in turn reduce my workload and improve the quality of care at our CSPS.”
The manager at Mariam’s health care centre explains how having her photo on display motivates her to continue practising healthy behaviours and encourages others to do the same. “If a patient comes in and sees you and your photo is on the wall and you’re not doing what’s depicted in the portrait, you’re sending mixed messages…It’s easy to connect the dots!”
The creation, production, and dissemination of Social Art for Behaviour Change interventions invests various stakeholders in a participatory process to co-create changes that meet their specific, contextual needs.
Several co-leaders took part in making this photo exhibit a reality. The project was powered by fun, and it was all about building confidence, valuing individual engagement, and allowing participants to become Leaders of Change in their community. As demonstrated by this endeavour, the SABC approach has great potential and merits wider exposure as a strategy for achieving sustainable quality care in health care facilities.
The One Drop Foundation supports 124 health care facilities around the world.