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Re: West Bengal: Buladi campaign fallen flat

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Dear all

Re: /message/8992

The Buladi campaign has been one of the most wide-reaching and easy-recall, if

controversial at times, communication strategies of the WBSAPCS which has also

won awards for public awareness campaigns.

After -launch surveys have also shown that. To say that it has " comes a

cropper " on one or two incidents is highly speculative.

Of course, stigma and discrimination is one of the major problems involving

HIV/AIDS patients and during the recent UN High Level Meeting (June10-11) it

was widely discussed as it is the expereince of the majority of the developing


To expect the attitude, mostly due to ignorance and lack of awareness, to

change overnight after a campaign is too optimistic.

After all, the fight against discrimination needs a sustained multi-pronged


The report also displays insensitivity while reporting on HIV/AIDS.

One does not castigate an infected person as " victim " , one of the first lessons

for communicators on the subject.

Also, it quotes the woman's husband where he says that the doctors advised

nutritional food " by which she would be cured. " Well, if the doctors have said

that they must have a magic formula the world hasn't yet discovered.

More likely, the contract labourer husband said something in the local

language/understood wrongly what the doctor (presumably) said but it is the

reporter's duty to glean it for what it implies or check out with the doctors

about this statement.

Reporting on HIV/AIDS needs careful attention to these details, though they may

look insignificant, because they too add to the 'ignorance' level as we in the

media are learning all the time.


Ranjita Biswas


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Dear Ranjita,

Re: /message/8992

I agree with you that a campaign cannot bring about attitudinal

change in a short period of time. In fact, what is remarkable about

the Bula Di campaign is that it has continued for nearly four-five

years now, which shows a welcome long-term commitment by WBSAPCS.

And in this period of time, the campaign has generated quite a bit

of positive recall. It has made broaching the subject of HIV easier

among many groups of people.

There have been past evaluations of the campaign, which have shown

problems in some areas. For instance, the campaign still has a

largely urban base. Besides, from personal experience and that of

other colleagues, I feel the crucial problem probably lies at the

end point of the information flow - the number 1097 does not work in

many places. So important gains made in terms of generating

awareness and curiosity may be getting lost when callers run into a


But surely these problems don't merit an outright condemnation of

the campaign. What is needed are innovative ways of overcoming the



Pawan Dhall


e-mail: <pawan30@...>

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