Nowadays, majority of people, and especially youth, prefer getting information and daily news through the Internet. Today very few people like to read long texts, instead preferring to watch videos or listen to the audio information materials. Social networks and instant messengers allow you to reach a large audience quickly and this way of communication is not costly. In Azerbaijan Facebook and Watsapp are the most popular. In light of this, TB-REP project participants decided to develop information material about tuberculosis issues in a video format.
Team of the NGO "Saglamliga Khidmat" under the leadership of Elchin Mukhtarli - civil society partners of the TB-REP project - have discussed problems regarding TB control in Azerbaijan with healthcare workers and came to the conclusion that the video should convey information messages that will not only give the audience new knowledge about the disease, but also reduce stigma towards TB patients. So the key messages were defined as follows - tuberculosis is a curable disease; it can be treated on an outpatient basis, at the medical facility closest to your home; the earlier one starts of treatment the easier it is to get cured; with the timely detection of disease and its treatment the danger of passing the infection to others practically disappears – patient becomes non-infectious after two weeks of initiation of proper TB treatment. It was decided that the main character of the video should be a woman, since the stigma and self-stigma are especially keen among and towards women.
The bidding competition was held, with the winner company “Narimanfilm” which is the well-known movie company in Azerbaijan, and the work began. The screenwriter and director of the project Murad Abiyev helped to adapt the ideas of NGO team to the format of 60-second video. Well-known actors in Azerbaijan Azer Aydemirç (as a doctor) and Parvana Talibzada (as a patient) were invited by the company for filming in a video.
The video creation took more than two months, although the filming itself was over in just 3 days. Quite a lot of time was spent on agreeing the script with all stakeholders: the Ministry of Health, NTP and the Country Coordinating Committee of Azerbaijan, the project coordinators from the PAS Center and the Alliance for Public Health. The recommendations of former TB patients were taken into account, and thanks to the help of the TB-REP national coordinator, Dr. Victor Gasimov, permission was obtained for filming in the TB dispensary of Baku and DOT centers. A lot of attention was paid by the film crew to the training of actors to help them better understand the topic, for this - their meetings with doctors and former patients were organized. And all these efforts fruited to the desired result.
The first viewers of the initial version of the video were the participants of the TB-REP national working group. Their feedback and observations helped to make the video as authentic and interesting as possible.
It should be noted that not all healthcare workers who participated in the video preview unequivocally accepted it. Some had fears that an expansion of outpatient treatment would result in losing their jobs. There was also skepticism about one of the key video messages - in 2 weeks after the beginning of TB treatment the patient ceases to pose a danger to others. And it took a lot of efforts to convince them that information is reliable and based on WHO materials.
However, creating a good video is only a half of the battle. Equally important is its rolling fate. NGO "Saglamliga Khidmat" managed to organize its broadcast in cinemas - before the films, at various events, conferences, on social networks connected with TB-REP (facebook, twitter), and via instant messengers on smartphones (Whatsapp, etc.).
The video is recorded on DVDs and distributed among all organizations working in the field of public health, tuberculosis services, among healthcare workers, patients, and journalists. Unfortunately, despite the fact that according to the law in Azerbaijan the demonstration of social videos on TV is free, it has not yet been possible to organize the broadcast of this video on national TV channels.
Yet, we hope for a wider use of the video within the work in the field of tuberculosis prevention and treatment as well as on reduction of stigma of TB patients. Already today, information about outpatient treatment of tuberculosis, as the available reviews show, has become known to large groups of the population of the country, and the questions coming to our organization and medical workers indicate the interest shown to these innovative approaches for treating the disease.
The video can be viewed here.