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At a glance: Indonesia

UNICEF Indonesia gets ‘Flu-Wise’ to fight H1N1

© UNICEF Indonesia/2009/ Yukezain
University students in Indonesia hand out mini ‘hygiene bags’ just minutes before a train leaves for Central Java. The bags feature flu prevention messages, tissues and liquid hand sanitizer.

By Suzanna Dayne

JAKARTA, Indonesia, 22 October 2009 – When millions of Jakartans packed trains, buses, planes and cars to trek back to their hometowns to celebrate the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, there may have been an uninvited guest travelling with them – the H1N1 virus.

The virus has begun to spread to Indonesia, the fourth most populous nation in the world.

In response, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Indonesian National Pandemic Influenza Committee and with funding from CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency, launched a series of events to raise awareness about pandemics and to inform people about what they can do to protect themselves and their families.

During the height of the Ramadan travel season, university students helped hand out mini 'hygiene bags' to tens of thousands of travellers. The bags feature flu prevention messages, tissues and liquid hand sanitizer.

“This is great. It will take us about 15 hours to get to my village,” said Ms. Yulianti, a mother of two. “We stop sometimes but the restrooms aren’t always clean, so this is good to have, especially for the children.”

Reaching a wider audience

In Banten province, more than 200 people crowded into the small parking lot of a local radio station for a chance to see their favourite stars up close. But these celebrities weren’t there just for fun. They carried important life-saving messages about H1N1.

© UNICEF Indonesia/2009/ Latif
Indonesian television actor Rieke Diah Pitaloka and co-host Fanny Fadila ask a grandmother and her grand daughter what they do when they get the flu.

“Does anyone here know what to do to protect yourself from flu?” Indonesian television actor Rieke Diah Pitaloka asked the crowd. He received a flurry of replies.
Mr. Pitaloka plays the warm-hearted, gullible character ‘Oneng’ on a popular TV series ‘Bajaj Bajuri’. UNICEF worked with the writers and actors from the show to produce a six-part radio miniseries to raise awareness about pandemics.

Using humor as education

The story, which uses both comedy and drama, explains how the Bajuri family copes during the deadly outbreak. Each episode includes key health messages that were first developed by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. The messages known as ‘Flu-Wise’ and ‘Flu-Care’ explain what to do to prevent getting flu and how to care for yourself or a loved one at home.

The series is airing on more than 100 radio stations around the country.

UNICEF also launched a television Public Service Announcement that features animated Flu-Wise characters. An interactive DVD has been developed with indepth information, videos and self-help quizzes so that people from all walks of life can understand how to protect and care for themselves, their communities and their families.



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