A meta-analysis pointed to a pooled pulmonary TB prevalence estimate of 703 per 100,000 for the tribal population which is significantly higher than that of India (256 per 100,000). In Purulia district, statistics indicate that in 2015 more TB patients have got registered whereas in the state it is otherwise. Again, during problem identification exercise TB got the highest importance disease tag by community people. Accordingly, the community radio station (CR) decided to conduct series of programs on TB, prepared on the findings of formative research.
A two-pronged strategy was adopted: narrowcasting in the villages and bi-lingual broadcasting through CR and a video film was prepared on the effectiveness of CR in addressing the TB problem. The recorded program format followed the edutainment approach while live phone-in programs were arranged.
The video film is based on the life story of a local man, Sunil Hansda. He recovered from TB and informed the CR members himself. The video is in Santhali and targeted audiences are indigenous people who might be inspired to get treatment for the entire course. The pre-recorded audio programmes were played as narrowcasting followed by the video clip. The narrowcasting sessions were followed by group discussions to assess the feedback from the participants and the knowledge they have acquired after attending the sessions. The program was conducted for 3 months with a preparatory work for two months.
An action research method was followed and baseline and end-line data have been collected.After the intervention on TB, above 80% of the respondents have identified that a cough, the cough lasting one week and cough with blood are the symptoms for TB while above 60% of the respondents have learnt that TB could be spread through air and sharing of food from the same plate. Above 80% of the respondents understood that malnutrition could lead to TB whereas above 40% of the respondents have admitted that persons with unhealthy practices, having tobacco, living with the TB patients can acquire TB. Over 80% of the respondents have admitted that measures like covering mouth while coughing and eating nutritious food can reduce the prevalence of TB. Over 80% of the respondents came to know about DOTS. The findings also suggest that difference in knowledge about the symptoms of TB and causes of TB among the respondents before and after the audio program is significant at 1% level while Knowledge of DOTS for TB is significantly high after the program among the respondents.
The video with a local success story and in vernacular/dialect could be handy to improve the health seeking behaviour and appropriate treatment of TB among the indigenous community. To contain the epidemic like TB, behavioural prevention seems to be the most crucial, effective and sustainable means of communication. The findings show that the narrow-casting programs with videos are influencing the behaviour of the people. The RNTCP may consider integrating it in their health communication intervention.