Adjusting to the new normal: Continuing children’s rabies education through an adapted animated video

Characters from the children's storybook on rabies speak about rabies and importance of vaccination.
Characters from the storybook speak about rabies and the importance of vaccination.

One of the aspects of the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is that many schools have remained closed or have included distance-learning into their curriculum. The Philippines is one example of many countries where this approach has been put in place for the 2020-2021 school year. This means that one of GARC’s school intervention programs in day care centers and public schools of Muntinlupa City had to be cancelled. Rather than a facing a massive setback and affecting our sustainable rabies education approach, this became an opportunity for our education materials to reach an even greater audience.

The children’s story on rabies prevention and the importance of dog vaccination was written to tackle head-on the misconceptions about dog vaccination and highlight the importance of vaccinating dogs against rabies. The story was developed based on the results of various community-based research studies undertaken by GARC which indicated that misinformation about rabies vaccination in dogs remains high. These misconceptions subsequently impact the willingness of dog owners to have their dogs vaccinated, thus negatively affecting rabies elimination efforts.

The vaccinated characters in the storybook are superheroes fighting on World Rabies Day against rabies.
The vaccinated characters become superheroes in the fight against rabies.

GARC and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Philippines, Inc. (BIAHPI) teamed up to produce the storybook, with the story being written by Dr. Sarah Jayme (GARC) and illustrated by Dr. Chuckrod Neil Tallud - a veterinarian from BIAHPI. BIAHPI generously agreed to shoulder the cost of printing the storybook in time for the 2020 World Rabies Day celebration, but with distance learning due to the pandemic, the team realized that printed materials would have a limited reach. Thus, with additional support from BIAHPI, a decision was made to make the storybook into an animated video.  

To ensure that the animated video would reach as many children as possible, GARC and BIAHPI partnered with the Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc. (KCFI) who has a strong track record in developing more than 1,500 educational videos for kinder to grade 10 students (junior high school). The agreement between GARC, BIAHPI and KCFI was formally signed last 29 July 2020. Through this collaboration, 8,000 public schools and 5 million households nationwide will be reached, primarily through television as 80% of the households in the Philippines have access to television and only 18% households have access to the internet.

The animated video will be also translated into English, ensuring that not only will children in the Philippines benefit from this great resource, but others around the world can enjoy learning about rabies and learn how to End Rabies Now.

Stay tuned for more information about this animated video and other exciting resources. To whet your appetite, check out our one of our other animated videos on rabies developed by GARC and KCFI on YouTube. You can also help us to create more great resources like this by donating to GARC.  

Article contributed by Dr. Sarah Jayme (GARC)