7th -10th August, 2018
Superheroes against Superbugs program is a unique initiative of the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance (henceforth, India Alliance) that aims to involve schoolchildren as partners in creatively engaging with the public on antibiotic resistance and its perils. According to projections of the United Nations, antibiotic resistance, if not tackled, could result in 10 million deaths worldwide by 2050. In India, about 50% of antibiotic prescriptions are inappropriate and 64% of antibiotics sold are unapproved.
A pilot of the program was kick started in June 2018 at TSWREIS, Hyderabad, in partnership with Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. In TSWREIS, Sharad Sharma introduced the children to grassroots comics. It was fascinating to note how the children developed comic stories based on different problems related to antibiotic resistance: dangers associated with stopping antibiotics mid-course, using antibiotics for viral infections, popping antibiotics without doctor’s consultation, environmental pollution with industrial dumping of antibiotics, use of antibiotics in poultry and dairy, and the importance of sanitation and hygiene.
Grassroots comics have empowered the students to develop comics on other issues. Here is what some of them had to say about the experience of developing these comic stories,
“Whenever I heard about comics I thought of jokes. I never knew I could develop my own comics and use them to talk about important issues.”
“My friends would laugh at my drawings, so I would go to other friends who would then draw for me. After this session, I am more confident about drawing and developing my own stories.”