Students use plays to illustrate health, social issues

Nagpur: India’s Academy of Pediatrics (API) Nagpur chapter on Saturday organized’ Jagar’ (awakening) a street play contest for students in town.

The themes of the plays were about health literacy, gender inequality, and ecology, as the contest was organized by physicians.

More than 25 schools in the city took part in this contest and highlighted issues such as cleanliness, wellness, public health, traffic safety, drugs, and mobile phone additions. It also highlighted social issues such as saving girl child, sensitizing boys and gender discrimination, etc.

API Nagpur President Dr. Shubhada Khirwadkar said the event was organized as part of the initiative for youth link.

“In all its dimensions, children and adolescents need to be trained on personal hygiene, healthy lifestyles, nutrition, respect for gender and many other issues that are important to their health. If these messages are delivered in the usual didactic manner they will hardly make an impact. API Nagpur has come up with an innovative way of reaching out through this contest to the girls, “she said.

API and the South Center Zone Cultural Center (SCZCC) joined hands to coordinate this event at their premises. Nagpur’s Siddhivinayak Academy of Performing Arts, Tarang Foundation, and Inner Wheel Club funded this maiden API initiative. Pediatrists have planned to communicate with school children to promote awareness of non-communicable disease prevention and provide CPR training during this year.

“Street play is the most successful and common form of social message delivery. Today children expressed important health messages in an informative and effective manner. Some of the actors were very talented and I offered them to join me with the theater movement, “said senior theater activist Sanjay Bhakre, one of the contest’s judges. The jury included adolescent health expert Dr. Nishikant Kotwal, psychiatrist Dr. Smita Desai, and senior journalist Barkha Mathur.

The chief guest was Dr. Avinash Gawande, Government Medical Superintendent of Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). “Street Plays is a fast, powerful and cost-effective way to impactfully exchange social messages. Students who initiated these plays must have thought a great deal about these critical themes, “he said.

Coordinating a dramatic function has been a novel experience for doctors, API Nagpur secretary Dr. Mustafa Ali said.

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