New Delhi: Amid the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a growing concern among people by which even children have not remained untouched. While doing his homework last week, 10-year-old Aaditya Khaiwal asked his father if he and everybody else are going to die soon because of the deadly coronavirus that has reached almost every country across the globe. His father, Dr. Ravindra Khaiwal, Additional Professor at Department of Community Medicine, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh was taken aback by the anxiety and panic his kid was suffering from because of low information. This prompted him and his wife Dr. Suman Mor, Additional Professor at Panjab University, to develop a comic book, named ‘Kids, Vaayu and Corona: Who wins the fight?’, that can help kids understand COVID-19 in a better way and also help them debunk any misinformation that they may have come across.
The story of the comic series revolves around a Superhero ‘Vaayu’ who works for better public health and the environment. He lives in the foothills of the Himalayas in India and he has been called to fight against the global threat of coronavirus and to protect children from sudden panic and fear. In the cover page, there are three kids who seem to be scared of coronavirus. The kids are guarded by Vaayu. He battles with his swords against the coronavirus and demonstrates how to observe personal and respiratory hygiene and social distancing to the children. The book has also described coronavirus and common signs of COVID-19 disease.
"Kids, Vayu and #Corona: Who wins the right".
Information on #Covid19 made easy for children. It can be seen here too:https://t.co/tL0DjKGpbS#SwasthaBharat#coronavirusinindia pic.twitter.com/siubrzZMND
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) March 9, 2020
While talking to NDTV about the comic, Dr. Khaiwal said,
There are growing concerns and perceived threat about the coronavirus among ordinary citizens. The parent should talk to the children and resolve their queries, so they do not panic. However, sometimes parents might be busy, and they might not be able to resolve their questions. Inspired by my own children’s queries, I wrote this comic to make children aware of the threat of coronavirus and how to remain safe through simple precautionary steps.
He further added that ideas and suggestions from his sons helped him in making the novel more interesting and appealing to children.
Dr. Mor shared that the couple was already working on a comic book for children to help them understand air pollution and the way they can do their bit in tackling the deteriorating air. However, the sudden outbreak of coronavirus and rising anxiety among children and people, in general, diverted their attention and they made the use of already developed characters to fight the threat of coronavirus. She said,
The comic is designed to learn, along with fun, and motivate children to be a hero of prevention by defeating corona and other infectious germs. The script has been written by Dr. Khaiwal at a stretch and the final design of comic was developed within 72 hours.
Adopted By The Health Ministry, The Comic Book Has Been Circulated To Almost All CSBE Schools
The comic book developed by Dr. Khaiwal and Dr. Mor with the help from their team was recently adopted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) as an awareness-building tool. The book has been circulated to various schools by the Central Board of Secondary Education. The couple has received positive feedback from the schools in Chandigarh. According to Dr. Khaiwal, the health ministry is also planning to translate this comic book in more than 20 Indian languages to make it accessible to as many children as possible.
The IEC (Information Education and Communication) officer at MoHFW said that the comic is helpful in resolving the queries of the kids so that they don’t panic. She informed that the comic can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Coronavirus Outbreak In India
The cases of coronavirus or COVID-19 in the country have sharply spiked and the World Health Organization has declared the virus a pandemic which means ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as of today, March 13 at 5 PM, 81 people including 17 foreign nationals in India have been confirmed to have the virus. Even a three-year-old also tested positive in Kerala who had a travel history of Italy with his parents.
Many steps have been taken by the government at the state as well as the central level to tackle the pandemic. The government has shut borders to existing visas – except diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment and project – till April 15. Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad and on their return, they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. Delhi government on Thursday evening also announced that the schools, colleges and the cinema halls would be shut till March 31. Kerala government, which is on high alert, on Wednesday, has also announced the closure of all movie theatres, schools and colleges till the end of the month. Similar steps have been put in place in Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states as well.